Over the weekend, Thai authorities raided the homes of multiple reporters, accusing them of being involved in the ongoing anti-government protests, one of the journalists told Thai Enquirer.
The three journalists who were targeted have been covering the political unrest since July, 2020, when anti-government demonstrations broke out. Immediately following their arrests, they took to social media to talk about what happened, stating that they were threatened by police.
“Police came to my house and talked to my father without a police identity card,” said Suramet Noyubon, one of the reporters from Friends Talk. “They accused me of being involved in the Thalugaz group,” referring to the fringe organization of disenfranchised protesters.
Suramet has filed a lawsuit today against two police who raided his house. Investigators told him that police only wanted to keep in contact with him since he’s a reporter, Suramet said.
Many suspected that these raids were conducted under a new decree signed on July 29, drafted to allegedly stop the spread of “fake news, ” and information that incites fear or causes instability to the state. But critics say the law would be used to muzzle free press and infringe their rights, effectively blocking their ability to publish.
Sirote Klampaiboon, a prominent reporter for Voice TV, released a leaked document which revealed his name on a government watching list. He says this is why he was questioned and the likely reason why his house was raided.
“What do you expect to get from me for this intimidation?” Sirote wrote on his account. “Is the government trying to wipe out its people or looking for a way to charge them?”
Sirote added that this is not the first time police raided his home, he said police intimidation has created an atmosphere of fear for his family.
“This kind of intimidation intends to create fear for my aged mother,” he wrote.
Sirote received a police summons earlier this year on November 20. He’s facing charges for “participating” in the protest over the last year. But he argues he was simply doing his duty as a reporter.
“All I want to see is law enforcement carry out proper procedures in accordance with the law,” Suramet said.