Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog 9: Rights group supports Aussie in Thailand

Rights group supports Aussie in Thailand

Alan Morison, an Austrailian Journalist who is scheduled to go to trial on July 14th, is being backed by The Human Rights Watch (based in New York) for the charges against him to be dropped. He is facing up to seven years in prison sentences and $A4000 in fines in Thailand if convicted of the crimes. The charges are related to a Phuketwan report, published in 2013 that republished excerpts from  a Reuters report that allege Thai security being involved in the smuggling of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar, Burma. The report, from which the journalists won a Pulitzer Prize, was part of a Reuters investigative series on the Rohingya, a stateless and oppressed minority in Myanmar. The Human Rights Watch believes that the punishment against Alan Morison were disproportionate for the charges against him, causing reputational harm and infringing on the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. 
I am sure that journalist Alan Morison is counting his lucky stars for the Human Rights Watch backing him in this lawsuit. It is almost obvious that the people of Thailand did not like the report, no matter how well written, because it had a negative connotation for the Thai security. Journalist of the report won a Pulitzer Prize, so it was well written and (most likely) backed with evidence and citations of the allegations against the Thai Security's involvement with the smuggling of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar, Burma. Not only are the charges unfair because the punishment is extreme for the alleged crime presented, but it seems as though they should be dropped because they seem to be bogus claims. Although these feelings could just be my American brain getting the best of my judgment of the situation. It is well known that the United States has freedom of press, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression, and it seems completely bogus that someone could be punished for producing a truthful work of art.

Andrika Payne
11:53 PM

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