Once again, Thailand deemed ‘not free’ by Freedom House

Thailand continues to be designated “not free” in the latest report by U.S. group that monitors democracy and free expression worldwide.

Freedom House gave Thailand 30 of 100 points, behind Kuwait, Pakistan, and Nigeria, assigning low marks for its two factors of political and rights and civil liberties. Overall, the ranking found cause for a slight bump over last year’s score of 29.

“The combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy in Thailand’s governance triggered massive demonstrations in 2020 and 2021. In response, the regime has employed authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse-majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Press freedom is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists,” the report wrote.

It gave Thailand six points out of 40 for political rights and 24 out of 60 for civil liberties. Nations scoring 36 and higher were considered “partly free,” while “free” countries scored 70 and up.

Neighboring Malaysia was assigned 53 points, making it “partly free” along with Singapore at 47. Myanmar slid to near bottom with five points.

The report cited key developments from last year including Bangkok’s gubernatorial election of Chadchart Sittipunt, who was elected by a landslide in a free and fair election. 

“Chadchart’s victory reflected public discontent with the military-backed government, as well as a somewhat more open political environment in which opposition candidates could pose a meaningful challenge to authorities,” the authors wrote.

It also cited the end of the sweeping Emergency Decree imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other key developments during 2022 were the court-imposed suspension of junta leader-turned-PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, and revelations of the government’s use of powerful spyware against its critics.

Find more information in the full report.

Freedom House is a nonprofit founded in 1941 that is known for political advocacy for democracy, political freedoms, and human rights. Much of its funding comes from the U.S. government.


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