Thailand: University warns lecturers against criticizing junta-sponsored draft charter
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Thailand: University warns lecturers against criticizing junta-sponsored draft charter

A PUBLIC university in Thailand has issued a warning to its lecturers not to write material criticizing the junta-sponsored draft constitution, it has emerged.

A lecturer at the Rajabhat Rajanagarindra University in the Chachoengsao province flagged the memorandum received from the institution in a Facebook post, reports Prachatai.org.

Arjinjonathan Arjinkit, lecturer of the Faculties of Humanities and Social Science, reportedly posted a picture of the memorandum with the caption: “When the university monitors your Facebook.”

The memorandum, issued by the Office of the President of the University and signed by its director, notified faculty deans to tell lecturers to avoid posting online content that “might create conflict”.

It also reminded lecturers that the university is obligated to cooperate with the government.

SEE ALSO: What the junta’s proposed constitution means for Thailand’s future

The memorandum read: “The university is a public institution [which] must cooperate with the government. [University personnel] should not post information which is not creative and might create conflict in society, which could be illegal under the 2007 Computer Crime Act.”

The warning comes after a lecturer at the same university wrote a post on Facebook criticizing the draft constitution, which is written by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) appointed by the junta.

memorandum

A photograph of the memorandum issued by the university. Image via Prachatai.org

According to Thai newspaper Matichon Online, Nopporn Khunkha, who is also a lecturer at the institution, reported another lecturer had made the post. He also noted that the chairman of the CDC, Meechai Ruchuphan, is the head of the Rajabhat Rajanagarindra University council.

Arjinkit is urging the university to clarify whether the memorandum is a threat against human rights and freedom of expression.

The draft constitution, which was published in April, has been widely chided by critics of the junta, who say it greatly weakens the powers of any elected government.

SEE ALSO: Op-ed: The true danger to ‘democracy’ in Thailand

Former Education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said the new constitution would lead Thailand to a “dead end”, and “takes power from the people”.