Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Pravit Rojanaphruk, a well-known Thai newspaper reporter and columnist who has been held incommunicado by the military since yesterday afternoon.
Pravit Rojanaphruk, who works for the Thai daily The Nation, was detained after responding to a summons for what the military authorities call “attitude adjustment.” Two military officers had previously gone to his home but failed to find him there. He went to Army Region 1 Headquarters in Bangkok with Pawinee Chumsri of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and UN representative Pokpong Lawansiri but they were not allowed to accompany him when he arrested. His mobile phone was also confiscated. Pawinee was subsequently told that Pravit had been taken to another military base, the name of which the authorities have not revealed. When questioned today by The Nation, the military officers responsible for issuing the summons continued to refuse to say where or why Pravit is being held. “We strongly condemn Pravit Rojanaphruk’s arbitrary detention by the military junta and demand his immediate and unconditional release,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “If the National Council for Peace and Order thinks he has committed a crime, it must refer the matter to the judicial authorities, who will announce what he is charged with and not hold him incommunicado without a valid reason. This is the behaviour of a dictatorship that is trying to intimidate independent journalists and encourage media self-censorship.” A well-known critic of the junta and Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté law, Pravit was already detained for seven days in May 2014, shortly after the military seized power. Thailand is ranked 134th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.