Thailand: Amnesty International Thailand calls for the immediate release of journalists as it escalating repression in the country.

13 February 2024

Amnesty International Thailand

Responding to the recent arrest of Prachatai journalist and independent photographer on 12 February 2024 after reporting about a graffiti protest at the outer Emerald Buddha Temple on 28 March 2023, Piyanut Kotsan, Executive Director of Amnesty International Thailand, said:

“The recent arrest of journalists in Thailand is a direct assault on freedom of the press and undermines the core principles of human rights. Thailand is contributing to the alarming trend of the Asian region as having the highest number of journalists in jail worldwide.


The government's efforts to silence journalism not only restricts the flow of information but also erodes the diversity and resilience of our society. By labelling journalists as criminals and viewing them as opposition rather than essential contributors to societal discourse, the government perpetuates a dangerous narrative that stifles dissent and undermines accountability.



The government must drop the charges and release them immediately, as well as cease all actions aimed at silencing journalists and respect the freedom of the press. Authorities must also ensure the protection of journalists from harassment and intimidation. It is essential for the government to prioritizes accountability, transparency, and rule of law. Amnesty International Thailand stands in solidarity with journalists, and those who work to expose and witness stories.”


Basic information

On February 12, 2024, a Prachatai reporter and independent photographer were arrested by plainclothes police before being taken to the Royal Palace Police Station in Bangkok. They were accused of committing an offense according to the Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums Act, B.C. 2504, Section 32, and the Act on Maintaining Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country, B.C. 2535, The offenses carry the highest penalty rates, including a prison sentence not exceeding seven years or a fine not exceeding 700,000 Thai Baht (20,000 USD). Both are accused of supporting the commission of these offenses and may receive up to two-thirds of the maximum penalty.

The police informed the journalists of the allegations at the Royal Palace Police and temporarily denied their release during the investigation stages. A Prachatai reporter was taken into custody at Chalong Krung Station, while a freelance photographer was detained at Thung Song Hong Station. The police will request the court's authority to detain them during the investigation on 13 February 2024.

Previously, on 10 February 2024, there were at least two independent journalists were assaulted by a third person group near the Siam BTS station after an activist’s press conference despite police presence in the area.