The ruling military junta has shut down a Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) event for the second time this month.
The FCCT said in a statement Monday afternoon that it had cancelled a discussion scheduled to take place Wednesday on Thailand’s draconian lese majeste law after it received a verbal order from police.
It added that authorities threatened to seal of access to the Maneeya Center, where the FCCT located.
“This is an unacceptable imposition on the many other tenants in the building, and it is with great regret that we have decided to cancel,” the statement said.
Authorities told the club that a meeting on the subject of lese majeste, which makes it illegal to insult or defame the Thai monarchy, “would sow disunity in Thai society, and encourage people to break the law and stir up unrest”.
Authorities refused to give a written order to shut down the event, saying it might damage their reputation.
“The NCPO has now told us they will not issue such a letter because they fear it would be used in the media to damage their image,” the FCCT said.
Earlier this month the ruling junta blocked a panel discussion on human rights in post-coup Thailand scheduled to take place at the same venue.
“The FCCT prides itself on being a forum for free debate in Bangkok, a role we have tried hard to maintain after last year’s military coup,” it said in today’s announcement.
“Since then we have had a varied programme of events, some of which have given the military government full opportunity to argue in support of its plans for the country.”
(READ MORE: Thailand’s junta blocks human rights seminar)