Wikileaks are causing a stir in Thailand. The heads of state in Singapore had some disparaging comments about all their neighbors, always fun to read about leaders engaging in second grade name-calling.
The real stir is about what can and cannot be discussed in Thailand, the cables are coming very near topics that are not openly discussed. The Thai government is currently censoring over 300,000 websites under a 2005 emergency decree. In addition to the emergency decree the lese majesity laws must be considered by any author or news agency.
At this point only a small number of 2,985 cables sent from Thailand have been released, but there is much discussion about the role of the Thai royal family in politics and some discussion about the future.
This is not a discussion that takes place in Thailand, the Thai royal family is protected under the country’s lese majesty laws that make it an offence to insult the monarchy. The challenge- the law does not clearly define what actions constitute defamation or insult. Does this impact the free flow of information? Certainly, the Economist printed an article earlier this year about the future of Thailand and voluntarily didn’t distribute the entire issue in Thailand.
Could the information contained in wikileaks force discussions that have not taken, or been allowed to take, place in Thailand? If the information in wikileaks becomes ubiquitous, why not? Would discussion and response then be required? Possibly. Maybe some real good could come from the information in wikileaks, real good meaning other than just the good fun of reading about high level name calling.
A great site for information about the cables and Thailand: http://thaicables.wordpress.com/