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Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason, and Lèse-Majesté (Rethinking Southeast Asia) Hardcover – September 27, 2010
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"This big, brave and important book argues that defamation laws are the cornerstone of Thailand's authoritarian political culture. They have strangled the media, wrecked public debate, undermined artistic and intellectual work, and ensured impunity for a long litany of state crimes. They underpin an authoritarian control of thought and expression that is extraordinary in a country that likes to think of itself as a democracy... This book is a brilliant essay on Thailand's legal history based on very detailed research into legislation and case law. In addition, it offers a complex, thoughtful and wide-ranging diagnosis of current discontents. Its rich historical and international perspective should make Thailand's democrats and Democrats pause to wonder where the country is heading." Chris Baker, Bangkok Post, November 2010
"David Streckfuss has done a great service to the study of lèse-majesté law and of its role in protecting the political and economic interests of the Thai monarchy. [Truth on Trial in Thailand] is a fine, exhaustively referenced study of the history of lèse-majesté law and of Thailand’s defamation laws more generally. It will be an authoritative reference book for a public now very much focused on the problem that lèse-majesté poses for Thai democracy." Patrick Jory, NM-TLC Reviewer
"The book’s thirteen chapters are rich in detail and observation... Thematically organized, the chapters offer an incomparable history of lèse-majesté, law and Thai-ness, public opinion, and the science of traitorology. Of especial relevance given the recent discussion of the judicialization of politics in Thailand is Streckfuss’s remarkable account... of the institutionalization of the “state of exception” by Thai courts working in conjunction with the police and military. This monumental volume is destined to take a leading place in the field of critical studies of Asia." Michael K. Connors, Critical Asian Studies, 43:1 (2011), 139–149
"[T]he real strength of the book is its fascinating analysis of a vast quantity of primary source material, including the analysis of a number of court decisions and some wonderful interviews with government censors." David M. Engel, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, School of Law, State University of New York at Buffalo; South East Asia Research
'This book is an important one, and the author’s research chops are formidable. The book serves as a critical history of Thai law, with a discussion of how lèse-majesté encompasses the world of the monarchy, politics, law enforcement, and religion in Thailand.' - Geoff Alexander, WOwasis 2013.
About the Author
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Dr. Streckfuss is joined in an earlier work by FEDERICO FERRARA, Assistant Professor with the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong ([...]), who wrote one of the most frank accounts of Thailand's innate character in his book Thailand Unhinged, by Equinox Publishing.
Streckfuss' book, however, is written as an academic work and by having done so the researcher and avid campaigner for needed social-political change in Thailand has provided an extensive foundation for subsequent researchers, students and others who want to understand what is happening in Thailand and why.
Writes Streckfuss, "The cleavages in Thai society--class, race, ethnic, religious, regional, and political-- so long papered over and held together by incessant calls for unity and a century-old constructions of an ossified national identity, are no longer deniable or manageable. The linchpin is the lèse-majesté law. The law's use does not indicate the strength of the Thai state but rather its utter desperation.Read more ›