A state of emergency is characterised by its temporary nature. The Abhisit administration’s current policies give the impression that the government wishes to make permanent changes to where and how individuals can express their opinions. This would be a step backwards for one of Southeast Asia’s most open nations. More importantly, stifling the public debate on the divisions and challenges facing Thai society will not make the conflicts go away. Instead, restricting freedom of expression will only impede efforts to achieve true reconciliation and lasting calm throughout the kingdom.

– Extracted from Jonathan Fox, “Silenced smiles: Freedom of expression in Thailand”, East Asia Forum, 13 July 2010.