The latest popular gossip in Thailand the last few days was about the naked romps of a prince. Some of the Thai media personnel that I follow on Twitter were posting naked pictures of this prince and then today I spotted that Thailand’s most popular tabloid newspaper ran the pictures of the naked prince on their front page. Although these were small and pixelated, their website ran much bigger versions (see here).
Of course, this wasn’t about the Thai prince. Thailand has very strict lese majeste laws and if anyone tried to leak pictures or videos of the Thai Crown Prince they would face 3-15 years in prison. And, as we all know, this is a law that has been used a lot the last few years. What is strange is that the Thai media has very strict rules about what they can and cannot say about the Thai royal family. They cannot even show pictures of them eating (see here). And here they are printing a naked picture on their front page of the grandson of the Queen of England.
The lese majeste law (Section 112 of the Criminal Code) is as follows:
Whoever defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.
Interestingly this law works both ways as can be seen in Section 133:
Whoever defames, insults, or threatens the Soveriegn, Queen, Consort, Heir-apparent or Head of foreign State, shall be imprisoned from one year to seven years or fined from 2,000 Baht to 14,000 Baht or both.
Obviously this doesn’t include the grandson of the Queen, but you would think it would be common courtesy for the Thai newspaper not to print the pictures. After all, they wouldn’t like it if an English paper published unflaterring pictures of the Thai royal family. Incidentaly, the UK press have been forbidden from printing any of the pictures themselves (see here).
As mentioned above, it is against the law to defame a king or queen in a foreign royal family and also head of states like the President of the US. The next law, Section 134, covers any foreigner that is accredited to the Thai royal family. Presumably this includes the foreign ambassadors. I mention this now as I had some grotesque pictures of the US Ambassador on my Facebook page this morning as some Thai people are angry with the US for allowing Thaksin to have a visa.
Whoever defames, insults, or threatens a foreign representative accredited to the Royal Court, shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to five years or a fine of 1-10,000 Baht or both.
Also don’t forget, if anyone defaces the national flag or symbol of a foreign state, they could also face up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to 4,000 Baht.