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<nettime> re: Important Thai education site closed
Geert Lovink on Thu, 5 Oct 2006 22:03:54 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> re: Important Thai education site closed


> From: somkiat tangnamo <midnightuniv {AT} gmail.com>
> Date: Oct 1, 2006 2:54 AM
> Subject: Statement of the Midnight University
>
> Statement of the Midnight University
>
> "Opposing the Closure of Channels of Free Communication"
>
> Beginning on Friday September 29th, the Midnight University's website 
> has been blocked by the Ministry of Information and Communication 
> Technology (ICT), Thailand. However, ours was not the first one to be 
> blocked or tampered with by the power of the Coup Council. The 
> Midnight University's considered reaction to the September 19 th coup 
> is strong disapproval of such a reckless solution to the nation's 
> political problems. Nonetheless, we also realize that it is too late 
> to reverse it and the only way out is to lend a hand in pushing our 
> country back onto the path of democratic development.
>
> The Council for Democratic Reform (CDR) has claimed that this coup is 
> the beginning of a political reform process which includes the 
> drafting of a new constitution. And yet, the provisions concerning the 
> drafting of a new constitution and political reform in the Provisional 
> Constitution of the CDR do not allow the full and free exercise of 
> political rights and civil liberties by the people, which is the key 
> condition for a successful political reform. Popular participation 
> does not simply mean being selected to sit in a constituent assembly, 
> but also denotes the opportunity for mutual learning and free exchange 
> of ideas. Therefore, an atmosphere of subjection and control by the 
> military under the CDR will rule out any possibility of genuine 
> political reform.
>
> For that reason, the Midnight University held a press conference on 
> September 28th, to oppose the political reform process as stipulated 
> in the Provisional Constitution and propose an alternative that would 
> allow for the full restitution of rights and liberties to the people. 
> To get our point across, we performed a symbolic act of tearing up 
> copies of the Provisional Constitution and posted a report of the said 
> event on the Midnight University's website.
>
> Hence, the ICT's immediate imposition of a blockage on our website.
>
> Actually, it is not hard for the Midnight University to overcome this 
> technical difficulty. We have indeed received various offers from 
> foreign servers to host our website. Be that as it may, we are of the 
> opinion that the problem of availability of a public space is not 
> technical in nature, but essentially political. And it has arisen 
> because the self-proclaimed "Council for Democratic Reform" has used 
> its coup-begotten power to impose a blockage on public space. 
> Therefore, we need to fight this illegitimate power together right 
> here in this land rather than evade it and find a new public space 
> elsewhere.
>
> As the Midnight University has earlier warned, political reform 
> couldn't be realized in an atmosphere shorn of people's rights and 
> liberties. That the Coup Council has thoughtlessly closed down 
> websites that expressed dissenting views on the coup shows that it is 
> incapable of leading a political reform that is free and equally open 
> to all. To bring this power to an end peacefully, Thai society must 
> not submit to it. Instead, we should together pressure it to stop the 
> violation of people's rights and liberties at once.
>
> It is true that, given freedom, there will be some who would exploit 
> it to try to destroy or disrupt political reform. And yet, only the 
> full exercise of rights and liberties can enlighten and empower a 
> society to fight the lies and half-truths of corrupt politicians 
> seeking a return to power. On the contrary, a society whose learning 
> and communication is kept under tutelage will remain weak and unable 
> to resist them.
>
> In place of an arbitrary and selective censorship based on a 
> subjective feeling of distrust and animosity of the censors, the 
> complete and indiscriminate opening of all channels of communication 
> will result in a free, fair and predictable rule of the game for all, 
> thus rectifying the arbitrary, unchecked and uncontrolled exercise of 
> power that is a major weakness of all coup-makers. By guaranteeing the 
> equal rights and liberties of the people to information, the Coup 
> Council will be able to tap into the real source of power far greater 
> than whatever it can get from its illegitimate coup.
> 30 September 2006


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