Living TIT 

TIT – New bill threatens ‘unlicensed thoughts’

On the heels the discussion of a very controversial new media bill, one that would only allow ‘licensed’ journalists to do their work and punish journalists without official licenses (which would be issued by the government), Thailand has quietly put forward another bill that, so far, went unnoticed.

Thought licensing

While the idea of journalists having to obtain an official license that would be given out by the government seems like a step towards more censorship and media control the second new bill that is said to be put forward focuses on the population rather than on media representatives.

In its essence the new bill, officially referred to as TL 08/15,  would require all Thai citizens to obtain official thought licenses which would be given out by local authorities after all citizens would have taken specifically designed tests. If those tests would be passed, one would receive a thought license which one should always carry with them. In the future those licenses will be embedded with the local ID cards and citizens would have to re-take tests every two years in order to make sure that they are still eligible to carry their thought license. Foreigners who, obviously, could not take such Thai tests would be required to leave their critical thoughts at the immigration counter. Therefore the new immigration policy states that foreigners entering the kingdom would have to also undergo a special test that shows that they are able to stop criticizing cultures which they ‘don’t understand’ and are able to adhere to “Thainess”. If foreigners pass said test they will receive a temporary thought license (Non-T TTL 08/15). Should someone in possession of such a license act in any form against its values the perpetrator will be banned from Thailand indefinitely.

Asked about the tests and how the government is planning to keep track of violators, both local and foreign, Pornthep Kidmaiao, spokesperson for the newly established Thought Licensing Program (TLP), said: “We obviously will have thought police (TP) out there which will check on what people think and do. We don’t mean to intimidate anyone but, of course, we have to make sure everybody knows his or her place. The TP will consist of highly trained officers which are fluent in English so that they can also check on foreigners and, if necessary (which it will be), fine them on the spot. If someone fails a test, they will have the chance to improve their knowledge in our concentration clubs where they can solely focus on preparing for their next test.”

However, just like with the Privilege Visa, you can also obtain a 10 year thought license (TL฿฿) for 102,000 USD. “People can’t be trusted, but money never betrays you. Therefore it is one of the pillars we built our policy on”, P. Kidmaiao, spokesperson for the TLP, said.

Pressed on the issue of censorship P.K. stated rolling out the thought license will lead the government to eventually get rid of the journalism license and hence discussions about censorship are nonsense as all journalists who underwent and passed the thought license test will be able to cover the greatness of the country the live in freely and without any restrains.

(licensed) thoughts on this new bill? Shout out in the comments!

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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  • dcharlie

    For a moment I thought this was published on April 1, April Fool’s Day, but it was published only two days ago. I can’t take this seriously.

  • Thought licensing not a real thing? Come on! ;-) We labeled the article with TIT, Sarcasm and F-Word which is the category for all our less serious articles. Nevertheless those articles that we link to (licenses for journalists) are unfortunately very real and one can only assume where this might lead to.

  • Thought licensing not a real thing? Come on! ;-) We labeled the article with TIT, Sarcasm and F-Word which is the category for all our less serious articles. Nevertheless those articles that we link to (licenses for journalists) are unfortunately very real and one can only assume where this might lead to.

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