Khaosod English Reporter Recognized for Fighting Censorship

Soldiers in front of the regional office of the National Broadcasting Service of Thailand on May 20, 2014, in Chiang Mai province.

BANGKOK — A senior staff writer at Khaosod English has been named a “free speech hero” by a London-based nonprofit established four decades ago advocate for free speech globally.

The only Thai national among 26 reporters recognized by the Index for Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards, Pravit Rojanaphruk was selected Wednesday for producing “courageous, high-impact and determined journalism that exposes censorship and threats to free expression.”

“I feel honored but also a heavy sense of responsibility to continue to defend freedom of expression, particularly at this very different time for Thailand,” Pravit said.

The annual awards acknowledge individuals or groups which have made a difference fighting censorship.  The long list released Wednesday recognized a Yemeni street artist, Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, the website “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” and others for advocating for free expression in difficult environments.

Since joining Khaosod English in November, Pravit has covered the ongoing suppression of human rights under Thailand’s military regime.

Pravit joined Khaosod English after resigning under pressure from The Nation, where he had worked since 1992, after being detained incommunicado by Thailand’s military government for his critical comments. He was accused of using social media to spread false information.

The Freedom of Expression Awards are offered for the arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism by the London-based group. Its final shortlist of 16 candidates will be announced in late January. Candidates are freely nominated and for 2015, they were selected by digital rights activist Martha Lane Fox, writer and campaigner Mariane Pearl, Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, and British politician and rights lawyer Sir Keir Starmer.