BBC rejects lese-majeste complaint

Backfired ! Seriously backfired.

The stupid thai police officer who filed a complaint for lese-majeste against a BBC journalist… has managed to bring in full broad light the insanity of the current situation in Thailand.

Congratulations ! His superiors are going probably to award him a medal… and send him to the deep South…

This fanatic -it’s not the first time he filed lese-majeste complaints- has seriously damaged the image of Thailand.

I mean to attack the BBC is just too… big for him. And what’s next ? The british Prime Minister ? Or a complaint for lese-majeste against the Queen of England (because BBC = England… therefore….) ? ! šŸ˜‰

It’s a shame, a disgrace. But this story has one huge advantage : it shows how totally whicked the situation is in Thailand.

The BBC has rejected police allegations in Thailand that one of its correspondents insulted revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a charge that can result in up to 15 years in jail.

The lese majeste complaint, filed by a police lieutenant-colonel, alleges that the British broadcaster’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head “intentionally criticized the monarchy several times”.

It also says that Head, a British journalist with more than 12 years experience in southeast Asia, was part of an anti-monarchy “conspiracy” involving Thaksin Shinawatra, the telecoms billionaire who was ousted as Prime Minister in a 2006 coup.

Prior to the coup, Thaksin was regularly accused of having insufficient respect for the King, who is regarded as semi-divine by many of Thailand’s 65 million people.

“The allegations made against Jonathan Head are completely unfounded,” BBC Asia Bureau Editor Paul Danahar said in a statement.

“The BBC understands that the police in Thailand are required to investigate all complaints of lese majeste, and will co-operate with that investigation,” he said.

“But it is very upsetting that his work should be incorrectly presented in this way and it has caused great distress to both him and his family.”

The May 30 complaint, filed by Police Lieutenant-Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakandee, says that Head’s reporting from 2006 to 2008 “damaged and insulted the reputation of the monarchy”.

One of his specific complaints relates to the placing of a picture of Thaksin above a picture of the King on the BBC website news.bbc.co.uk, in contravention of a Thai convention that images of the monarch must always be at the top. (Reuters)

8 Responses to “BBC rejects lese-majeste complaint”


  1. 1 loris Ipanoff 3 June 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I agree, totally stupid police officer, I mean to attack a minister of the government is one thing,and they will get away with it,as this is the standard to get rid of a political opponent. The BBC is a much bigger entity to attack,that is why it will fall flat,If I was the BBC I wouldn’t care less about what one idiot says. Hey,even the king himself said,he is not above criticism, only those around him seem to like this law, because it can be helpful at times.

  2. 2 Stephen Edwards 3 June 2008 at 9:59 pm

    I would say that the police officer concerned has his own reasons for filing such a claim. Perhaps he sees it as a way of ingratiating himself with his superiors, perhaps he relishes the publicity it will draw to himself, perhaps he feels it is his duty to stifle free speech (as indeed it is, as things stand), perhaps he is simply a monarchy fanatic… who knows?

    However, we should remember that the real stupidity is the law itself. A law that is quite immoral and totally ridiculous in the 21st century, even in conservative Thailand.

    I wonder if anyone can tell me whether attacking the lese-majeste law, is in itself a crime of lese-majeste.

    It strikes me that I have seen virtually no criticism of this ludicrous law in the Thai press or elsewhere. I am wondering why?

    This law is an outrage, yet nobody seems to question it.

  3. 3 thaicrisis 4 June 2008 at 12:27 am

    That’s the whole point : nobody question it, nobody can question it.

    It’s the core of the system.

    And there is I think a big hypocrisy… Some commentators (outside Thailand of course) repeat ad nauseam that the King “himself made it clear in 2005 that he should not be above criticism” (Reuters).

    It’s like the King wouldn’t agree with the lese-majeste law.

    However, this totally anachronic law does still exist…

    My point : the Palace, and many people depending on the Palace, need this law…

    ->SE : I like very much your warholian idea of 15 minutes of fame for the poor policeman. šŸ˜‰
    Maybe he didn’t have enough love in his childhood (the father was too distant, and the mother too preoccupied by the household)…

    He stayed actually at the phallic stage, he needs the reconnaissance of his peers and the lese-majeste law is an object of fixation for him.
    The fear of castration is obvious.
    Ah ah ah ah ;–)

  4. 4 Patchara 19 June 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Freedom of speech is OK providing it is civilized speech

    Jonathan Head lied in his articles.

    They were not properly researched.

    Jonathan Head was obsessed with Thai monarchy.

    Jonathan Head was warned but did not listen.

    Jonathan Head is a childish rude person who does not understand that freedom does not mean freedom to attack and destroy

  5. 5 thaicrisis 19 June 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Patchara, you need to back up what you’re saying.

    -what is a “civilized” speech ? And what is an “uncivilized speech” ?

    -lies : which ones ?

    -properly researched ? on which points ?

    -obsessed ? to write a few articles that speak about thai monarchy is not a proof of obsession… far from it.

    -warned by who ? Against what ?

    -In this case, the police officer complains that Jonathan Head made an interview of Thaksin, published on BBC website… I mean where is the will to attack and destroy ?

    The bottom line is : you can’t deny someone to have his own opinions. Some thai authorities believe they can. Fair enough. But then Thailand is not alone on the planet. You have to accept -even if you hate it- that many people disagree with what you say and think.

    It’s like that. C’est la vie.

    The fact that you can write such a comment shows, without any doubt, that the dispute just can’t be solved.

    Too bad.

  6. 6 swissjon 20 December 2008 at 5:56 pm

    The law is the law.. If Jonathan broke it, Jonathan should be tried by that country he was living in and punished if found guilty.

    In the UK, you are priviledged to be allowed to say pretty much what you please without too much backlash, but there are still some laws over what can be reported, for example, racist, hateful and inciteful comments can result in imprisonment. That is the law in this country, and if someone accuses you of making such comments, then you will be investigated.. Why is Jonathan suddenly expecting to be treated differently under reasonably similar circumstances?? He knew the law, he could very easily have left Thailand to make these comments, he chose not to, and so is being investigated as a reporter for the Taliban would be in the UK..

    If he’s innocent, i.e. he did not make derogatory comments about the Thai king, then he should be found innocent, and we should assist him in the same way we assist other wrongfully accused people, but if he is not innocent, do we really want our international representatives in the world, the BBC, taking sides against the Thai government “just because he’s a colleague”?

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 20 December 2008 at 7:55 pm

    The law is the law.. If Jonathan broke it, Jonathan should be tried by that country he was living in and punished if found guilty.

    Congratulations. You just won the Bigotry Medal.

    One of the “complaints” againt J.Head says it all. I suggest you read it.

    One of his specific complaints relates to the placing of a picture of Thaksin above a picture of the King on the BBC website news.bbc.co.uk, in contravention of a Thai convention that images of the monarch must always be at the top

    So it’s rather pointless to speak about the “law”, about “guilty” like you do. The “law” here is just plain, stupid common sense.

    Having said that, if you really want to have lawful, legal and profound discussions about the gender of angels, lese-majeste and the culpability of the BBC, you might go to North Korea
    or Burma, or any other inane orwellian countries.

    I’m sure, they would welcome you.

    I just can stand anymore people who hide themselves behind the so convenient principle : “if it’s the law in their country, if it’s their customs… then we can’t say nothing about it”.

  8. 8 Smile2009 22 January 2009 at 6:33 pm

    The laws he is being investigated for are archaic but even the King knows that and most people are pardoned by him
    On the other hand Thailand does not want foreign journalists here who report news incorrectly. I have seen the BBC reports and interviews with him. They are totally false.
    Jonathan Head, who knows Thaksin well, is rumored to be on the payroll.
    He chose the wrong side. He made up his stories and everyone here knows it. As well as that he was probably paid for it. He should be deported and banned from this country for life. He is a perfect example of a corrupt reporter spinning the truth, something I thought the readers of this blog are against. However I see some are not.
    My best advice make some investigatons into the background of the stories before you post and finally do not think Thai people are all stupid or corrupt. They are not. To insult the King as one stupid commenter did is really dumb. If he is like Stalin then how would you describe Bush?
    I have lived in Thailand 28 years and it even insults me when some ignoramus makes such a comment.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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