“Culture is more important than personal freedom” on porn debate, says culture minister

Preserving our culture is more important than personal freedoms, the Thai Ministry of Culture said, in response to a push for the legalization of pornographic production and content within the country.

“There might be examples from abroad that this can be done freely but the Ministry of Culture insists that people should preserve the good culture more than freedom,” said Itthiphol Khunpleum, the Minister of Culture, said on Wednesday.

He said he disagreed with the proposed amendment of Section 287 of the Criminal Code, which bars the production and distribution of pornographic materials because it is not suitable for Thailand.

“It is not yet the right time for Thailand to be open and free about this because this is a very delicate matter for the Thai society,” he said.

His comments came after the Charoen Porn group, led by a 19-year-old adult video creator and a star on OnlyFans known as “Kainao” submitted a petition to Chuan Leekpai, the President of the National Assembly.

Kainao was arrested, along with her boyfriend in September, and charged with producing and distributing pornographic content for commercial purposes.

The law does not ban people from being in possession of pornography, as long as the participants are over the age of 18, but it does now allow for the production, distribution, and commercialization of these materials.

Violators could face up to three years of imprisonment.

Petition accepted

Despite the Minister of Culture’s opposition, the petition was accepted by Chuan’s adviser, Dr Sukit Atthopakon, who said they would make sure all documents were in order. Once approved, the organizers will need to canvas 10,000 signatures to bring the motion to parliament.

Palang Pracharath Party’s MP for Bangkok, Sira Jenjaka, who is also chairman of the House committee on law, justice, and human rights, said on Thursday that he will support the petition and that he will invite the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Office of the Council of State to discuss on the matter.

“I believe the society can now accept it,” he said. “A gun is dangerous but it can be legalized and this can also be legalized.”

Sira said pornographic materials are very easy to search for and if law enforcement cannot enforce the law, it should be commercialized.

Itthiphol said the discussion on the matter will take some time as it involves many parties, especially a public hearing.

He said it would be hard to control what kind of pornographic content the creators would make and there is concern that in the digital world, young people will be able to access the “inappropriate” materials.

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