As the military junta ruling Thailand places greater restrictions on free assembly and expression and threatens more punitive measures, student activists are increasingly speaking out — using social media tools to communicate with the world.
The junta has imposed a new set of rules on the country's education system. Dissent is prohibited on campus. Memorization of the “12 Values” — a core group of statements that focus on deference to authority and “correct democracy” — is mandatory. The junta has also required removing references to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in all history text books.
Nattanan Warinarawet is the 17-year old secretary-general of a group called Education for Liberation of Siam. Since speaking out against the mandatory implementation of “12 Values” into Thai education curricula, Warintarawet has been informed that the military junta tracks her movements and actions through her teachers. Despite the risk involved, Warintarawet spoke with Global Voices Online contributors about her experience.
“I couldn't believe that the thing that I did, just stating my opinions, just sharing my voice about the 12 values, would cause the military junta to monitor my actions,” she said.
Right now in the junta regime, anything could happen, but I still have hope and I think it has a positive effect on my life. I feel empowered by this. I feel like even a girl like me can make a huge change. I am motivated to fight for freedom of expression even more because right now I am aware of how important this is.
Watch the rest of her interview below: