We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, urge the Thai government to investigate, and immediately halt, the alleged state-supported online attacks against human rights defenders, political activists, social critics, and opposition politicians.

The censure debate on 25 February 2020 led by MP Wiroj Lakkhana-Adisorn from the disbanded opposition party, Future Forward, has revealed several pieces of evidence accusing the military and the Thai government of running an online information operation (IO). This operation targets prominent human rights defenders, political activists, opposition politicians, and public figures. Evidence includes official documents issued by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) under the Office of the Prime Minister including official military memorandum issued by Second Army Area. There is also a video of an interview with a military officer who took part in the operation, conversations logs from a  private line group that discussed using social media to disseminate fabricated information against government critics, and QR code shared within that private group.

These online attacks specifically target human rights defenders working on the Deep South-related issues. They label defenders as ‘unpatriotic traitors’. The websites, pulony.blogspot.com, constantly attacks women human rights defenders like Angkhana Neelapaijit, Pornpen Khongkajornkiat and Anchana Heemena. Political activist, social critic and pro democratic activists like Nuttaa Mahattana, Sarinee Achavanuntakul and Kunthida Rungruengkiat were also listed in a ‘watchlist’ on various social media accounts. It appears hundreds of fake social media accounts were created to aggressively respond to government critics and promote state propaganda.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) mentioned similar IOs in November 2019 when they disclosed a document submitted to the Court by Maj.Gen. Burin Thongprapai. The document had been used as an evidence when he filed charges against organizers and participants of a peaceful protest conducted on 10 February 2018. This document stated that IOs were used to disseminate misinformation about the protest organizers and to convince the public that the peaceful protest was not initiated by student activists, but instead, a red shirts group.

We call on the Thai government to fully and promptly investigate the state-backed online Information Operations that produced misinformation and incited distrust among Thai people. We urge the Thai government to maintain public trust by disclosing all documents related to the operation. The information operations must stop immediately and the Thai government must be held accountable for damages. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter also bear the responsibility to shut down all state-supported, fake accounts.

Lastly, we demand the Thai government, especially the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to immediately halt any misinformation and incitement campaigns against human rights defenders, political activists, opposition politicians and public figures. The Thai government must respect the civil liberties granted to all Thai people, including human rights defenders, by the 2017 Thailand Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Joint-organizations:

  1. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)
  2. Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
  3. Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC)
  4. Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
  5. Center for Protection and Revival of Local Community Rights (CPCR)
  6. Duayjai Group, Pattani Province
  7. Patani Human Rights Organization Network (HAP)
  8. JASAD Group – Network of Affected Populations under of Special Laws, the Southern most provinces Thailand
  9. ENLAWTHAI Foundation (EnLAW)
  10. Union Civil for Liberty (UCL)
  11. Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLAW)
  12. Southern Human Rights Lawyers Network (SHRLN)
  13. Freedom Mobile Journalist (Freedom MoJo, FMJ)
  14. People Network of Satun Provincial Development Plan Watch
  15. Green South Foundation
  16. Human Rights and Environment Association
  17. Learning Center on Natural Way for Community
  18. Songkhla Consumer Association
  19. Khao-Khu-Haa Community Rights Protection Association
  20. Spirit of Thepa Stop Coal-Fired Power Plant Network
  21. Permatamas – Persekutuan rakyat mempertahankan hak masyarakat dan sumber daya alam untuk kedamaian
  22. Centre for ​Ecological Awareness Building
  23. NGO Coordinating Committee on Development of North (NGO-COD North)
  24. NGO Coordinating Committee on Development of Lower North (NGO-COD Lower North)
  25. NGO Coordinating Committee on Development of Northeast (NGO-COD Northeast)
  26. NGO Coordinating Committee on Development of South (NGO-COD South)
  27. NGO Coordinating Committee on Development of Thailand (NGO-COD Thailand)
  28. Land Watch Thai
  29. The Eastern Economic Corridor Watch Group (EEC Watch Group)
  30. Student Group for Human Rights of Khonkaen University (Daodin Group)
  31. Campaign for Public Policy on Mineral Resources (PPM)
  32. Ecology and Culture Study Group
  33. People Network of Mineral Ownership

Individuals:

  1. Tittasat Sudsan
  2. Chalermsri Prasertsri
  3. Supat Hasuwannakit
  4. Wanchai Putthong
  5. Suthichai Ngamchuensuwan
  6. Teerawat Kwanjai
  7. Saifon Sitthimongkol
  8. Kua Rittiboon
  9. Titarat Kaewsri
  10. Chanang Arparak
  11. Somboon Khamhaeng
  12. Kunnika Paekaew
  13. Wara Chanmanee
  14. Supunsa Marem
  15. Prasithchai Noonaul
  16. Ekkachai Itsaratha
  17. Bundit Kraivijit
  18. Anthicha Saengchai
  19. Kritsada Khunnarong
  20. Surainee Sainui
  21. Doungyiwha Uttarasin
  22. Watchara Thipthong
  23. Parit Chomchuen