January 04, 2003
Bavornsak Uvanno, one of the writers of the new Thailand constitution and a legal and research professional from the King Prajadhipok Institute has resigned from the institute and taken up an appointment as cabinet secretary general in the Thaksin Shinawatra Thai Rak Thai government.
Previously Bavornsak Uvanno was able to take freely as the head of an independent research institution on matters ranging from freedom of the press, to the Saudi Arabian diplomat murder controversy and electoral laws.
However he is under no delusions on the effects of his move from research to politics. "...It is unlikely that I will say what I think. I will have a different status and responsibility.." said Bavornsak yesterday.
A King Prajadhipok Insititute survey last year found that political parties, the police force, non-governmental organisations and the press had the lowest credibility rating amongst the Thai population.
In a controversial report mid last year a King Prachadipok Institute report commissioned by the Election Commission found that the power of the Election Commission should be curtailed and its role limited to supervision of polls, the function of organization of elections to be left to other state agencies. It also recommended fines for non-voting, a ban on election-day exit polls and on the distribution of results of opinion surveys in the seven days prior to the vote.
As one of the authors of the Charter, Bavornsak has expressed interesting viewpoints in the past.
Addressing the Thailand Journalists Association in June 2002, which earlier this week blasted the Prime Minister for interference, Bavornsak reportedly stated that "...it was common for governments to try to influence the media's thinking, but the way the constitution promoted press freedom had led to a change - from intervention through state mechanisms to intervention through use of business power...". "...The media is free of state control but it may be under control of invisible capital, especially foreign capital..."
According to a Bangkok Post Report, Bavornsak "...urged the association to push for organic laws to protect journalists from unfair layoffs or demotion in the event their news reports upset employers or powerful figures..."
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