Empowering young Thai filmmakers to tell their stories about human rights and diversity in Thailand

In his documentary Pai Dao Din highlights social injustices in Thailand.

A powerful image, from the documentary “Pai: You Know Me a Little, Brother”, that highlights the Thai military government’s restrictions on civil society space.

The documentary Under the Veil, highlights suppression felt by the LGBTI community living in Thailand’s Muslim majority southernmost provinces.

To highlight injustices in the world you need a group of courageous individuals who have a vision, take risks, and who are empowered by like-minded communities.

Ten young Thai filmmakers are such individuals.  Supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and in partnership with Prachatai and the Foundation for Community Education Media, these talented youth produced short documentary films addressing human rights issues in Thailand.

Screened during two events, representatives from civil society and the diplomatic corps took in the powerful images and messages addressing issues including; freedom of expression, peaceful pluralism, lèse-majesté, LGBTI rights, and the challenges faced by Thailand’s rural poor. The documentaries highlighted the Thai military government’s restrictions on freedom of expression and civil society space, which have been in place since the 2014 coup.

Protecting free expression

Among the powerful stories told through the documentaries is that of the criminal proceedings against student activist Pai Dao Din and the rights of LGBTI communities in Thailand’s Deep South.

The film Pai: You Know Me a Little, Brother, recognized as the best film by a panel of judges and by audience vote, tells the story of Pai Dao Din, a prominent anti-coup student activist in Khon Kaen in Northeast Thailand who is facing criminal charges for violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) restrictions on public assembly.

In December 2016, Pai was arrested and charged with lèse-majesté for sharing an online profile of Thailand’s new King. He remains in jail, having been denied bail on multiple occasions, and his case has become a key priority for human rights groups and other like-minded Embassies as a symbol of the military junta’s continued efforts to silence its critics.

Another powerful film, Under the Veil,highlights the challenges faced by LGBTI communities living in Thailand’s Muslim majority southernmost provinces. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the film and fear of reprisals against those it features, the film was not shown at the public screening.

Raising awareness through film

The Embassy of Canada to Thailand will continue to seek opportunities to empower young filmmakers and human rights defenders to use their talents and voices to advance human rights issues.

Canada continues to be a proud leader in promoting the protection of human rights among the Thai public and supporting efforts to influence change around the world.

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