Freedom of Expression in the Service of Social Justice: The Case of Southeast Asia
Ms. Chiranuch Premchaiporn is executive director of the Foundation for Community Educational Media, a Bangkok-based NED grantee organization that operates the independent media website Prachatai. She has participated in HIV/AIDS campaigns for more than a decade, serving as manager and advocacy team leader at the AIDS Access Foundation. In a case widely viewed as a barometer of freedom of expression in Thailand, she was sentenced in 2012 to an eight-month suspended prison term under Section 14 of the country’s Computer-related Crime Act for failing to remove from the Prachatai website comments deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy. Ms. Premchaiporn has received international awards for her defense of freedom of expression, including a 2011 Hellman/Hammett Award from Human Rights Watch and a 2011 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. In 2012, she was named by Newsweek as one of the world’s “150 Fearless Women.” During her fellowship, she is examining the ways in which extreme speech is manifested in Thailand, with a focus on hate speech and lèse majesté.
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