Thai junta passes controversial cyber-crime law

Thai workers look at job advertisements in BangkokThai workers look at job advertisements in Bangkok

Thailand’s rubber-stamp parliament on Friday passed a controversial cyber-crime law that critics say strengthens the junta’s ability to police the web and squeeze out criticism.

Free expression has been severely cramped since the generals seized power in 2014. The junta has banned protests, muzzled the press, blocked scores of websites and used already stringent cyber and defamation laws to prosecute critics over everything from Facebook comments to investigative reports on rights abuses.

Despite strong public criticism, the junta-appointed parliament on Friday voted to unanimously pass an updated version of the Computer Crimes Act, with 167 yes votes and five abstentions.

“I can reassure that this law is important and necessary but will absolutely not violate personal rights,” said lawmaker Chatchawal Suksomjit, a former top cop who drove through the bill.

Thailand’s new king Maha Vajiralongkorn will have

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