Newly freed Thai journalist forced to quit newspaper

AP News
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Posted: Sep 16, 2015 10:23 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai journalist just freed from detention by the military government said Wednesday he has resigned under pressure from his newspaper.

Pravit Rojanaphruk said The Nation newspaper asked him to leave because of pressure it received after he was detained, which he indicated came from both within the publishing group and from outside. He did not say exactly what sort of pressure the newspaper received, aside from a call for people to come out and protest against him.

He said he agreed to quit because he considered the newspaper to be like his own home, which he didn't wish to destroy.

"Thanks The Nation for everything. After discussing with management I agreed to resign to save the paper from further pressure," Pravit said on his Twitter account.

Pravit was detained Sunday by soldiers and held incommunicado until Tuesday for what the military calls "attitude adjustment." He has been a rare outspoken critic, in newspaper columns and on Twitter, of the junta that has ruled since a military coup last year ousted a civilian government. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has harshly criticized journalists and other critics of the coup.

No comment was immediately available from the newspaper. When Pravit was detained, the editor-in-chief of The Nation publishing group, Thepchai Yong, urged Prayuth to have him released immediately and described the detention as "a direct threat to press freedom."

The action also brought sharp criticism from international human rights and media groups, and underlined the limits of freedom of speech under Thailand's junta.

It was the second time Pravit had been detained by the junta, which summoned large numbers of politicians and potential dissidents in the months after the coup, and recently appears to have resumed a crackdown on dissent. The junta says criticism could destabilize the nation, which it says needs unity after almost a decade of sometimes violent political conflict.