Charter keeps rights and liberties: deans
Deans from four political science faculties yesterday offered a positive critique of the temporary charter draft, expected to be promulgated on Saturday.
The deans from Chulalongkorn, Thammasat, Ramkhamhaeng and Sukhothai Thammathirat universities were invited to vet the draft, comprising 39 articles.
"Basic rights, including press freedom, are enshrined in the temporary charter, an unprecedented move compared to past military coups," Thawee Surarithikul of Sukhothai Thammathirat said.
Charter writer Meechai Ruchuphan had said the draft's Article 3 would keep intact those rights and liberties guaranteed by the 1997 Constitution, Thawee said, adding key features of the draft included clear guidelines for rewriting the constitution.
After the temporary charter came into effect, the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) would become the Council of Security (COS) and act as an advisory body safeguarding the interim government.
The COS will comprise six CDRM members who will be called "security councillors". Its composition may eventually rise to 15.
Its main mission is to shield the interim government from outside pressure and possible attacks such as those launched by foreign and domestic capitalists wanting to usurp the political situation.
It is empowered to appoint 250 members of the National Assembly to take charge of legislation.
The Assembly would in turn design the selection process for 100 charter writers. The process should involve 2,000 representatives of professional groups and local governments.
These representatives would vote to select 200 candidates and the Assembly would then pick 100 to sit on the Constitutional Drafting Council (CDC).
The CDC is tasked to select 25 experts as charter writers, while the Assembly will name another batch of 10 charter writers.
The 35 people would then submit their first draft for CDC review before holding a series of public hearings for every draft article of the new charter.
Following the completion of the public hearings, the CDC would then vote on whether to approve the draft. If it rejects the draft, it then must choose one of the past charters for promulgation.
The deadline is 300 days and the 35 charter writers are banned from political appointments for two years after completing their job.
Media groups want same protection as in '97 Constitution
The Press Council of Thailand, Confederation of Thai Journalists, Thai Journalists Association and Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, met yesterday to discuss concerns about the country and issues involving the drafting of an interim constitution, the forming of an interim government and drafting of a new constitution.
The four organisations had some suggestions and requests for the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM):
1. To show sincerity and prove the CDRM actually wants to promote democracy, CDRM should issue principles to guarantee people's and the media's basic rights of expression in the interim constitution, not less than those in the 1997 Constitution.
2. The four groups will appoint a working group to monitor the people's and media's rights. In the long term, it will study important issues and push for media reform.
3. The four organisations condemn and refuse any involvement with any media serving as politicians' tools and acting against media ethics. Therefore, the CDRM should prevent such media damaging the image of all media professionals or making people think they are representing all the media, leading the CDRM to issue regulations violating the rights of the media.