Chapter 5 : Discussion on Current Status of National Information Policy of Thailand

5.1 Background

This paper studied mainly a status and the activities of the National Committee for Direction and Coordination of ThaiNATIS and of the National Coordinating Centers which illustrated the outcome from the ThaiNATIS five year Action Plan. The development of library and information services beyond a scope of ThaiNATIS is included as it reflected the actual movement in this area of profession. It is important to note the activities that reflected the statement of the National Information Policy (1986) to give better understanding of the status of the National Information Policy.

5.1.1 Status of National Information Policy

The National Information Policy was established in 1986 within a scope of library and information work that was supposed to develop towards the use of new technology that can bring information to all the people in Thai society. The National Information Policy has been enabled through the work of the National Committee for Direction and Coordination was operated by the National Library of Thailand which has served as a secretariat. The Committee was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Ministry of Education. The National Library as a secretariat has been responsible to revise and update the activities as well as the structure of the Committee and the member organization of the National Coordinating Centers. Since 1986, the National Library has requested for the Committee’s revision to the Prime Minister’s Office, but the requests had been postponed due to changes of government and politics. The Cabinet only very recently approved the continued existence of the Committee on January 1, 2007. No revision was made in a component of the member organization of the National Coordinating Centers. And, this has marked the “missing link” of communication within the ThaiNATIS.

Notice and opinions about the Thailand national information policy were expressed in Narumol’s thesis are worthy of note, that

“Thailand still lacked a clear national information policy especially for information providers to implement. Moreover, the bureaucratic restructuring in October 2002 brought about a change to many government agencies. Some of them were dissolved, some merged together. During the transition period, there was a vacuum for most agencies. And such re-structural change had influenced upon the structure of the national coordinating centers under ThaiNATIS and National Information Networks in Thailand. Under the bureaucratic restructuring, some government agencies which belonged to the networks had been restructured but none of the policies related to the networks especially the national coordinating centers under ThaiNATIS had been updated yet. This phenomenon caused difficulties in implementation since the future roles and status of most government agencies under the networks.”

It is true to note that the National Committee for Direction and Coordination of ThaiNATIS was active only at the beginning or the first few years of the Action Plan between 1987-1990. There were very little reports on the performance of library activities that reflected the relationship with the National Information Policy.

Following is an analysis of the outcome activities as mapped with the objectives stated by the National Information Policy 1986.

National Information Policy 1986
1.to accept that information is an important resource for development
and institutional sources must received high level recognition
10th National Plan 2007
2.to pay attention and allocate resources appropriately to build and
to improve information system infrastructure and information services at the
national level in responding with the objectives stated in the National Economic
and Social Development Plans
National Education Act 1999
National ICT Policy 2000
3.to promote all users of information to have access and to learn of the
information regardless of locations, and to allow the citizen’s right of
information according to the human rights as worldwide acceptance
National Official Information Act 1997
Constitution 1997
4.to promote and to take care and to operate information service training
for all levels of users in order that they can use the information for
individual self development and for national development
NECTEC
MICT
5.to promote and to take care and to operate on human resources development
for information personnel as needed
Commission of Higher Education
NECTEC
6.to promote and to support the information professionals to have career path
and have secure work status
Cooperation with Thai Library
Association setting criteria for promotion
7.to promote and to support research to develop information systems and
information services
NRCT
NECTEC
TRF
Commission of Higher Education
8.to promote the information cooperation and coordination at the national,
regional and international levels in order to maintain the national benefit and
national security
ThaiNATIS Newsletters,
Union catalogs
THAILIS

The National Library set up a ThaiNATIS coordinating unit to coordinate with the 6 National Coordinating Centers. For the beginning years of the Action Plan, the National Library supported the organization of the National Coordinating Centers by subsidizing the honorarium for the meetings. There were no recent activities regarding the meeting for the past few years. There are cooperation projects for example: a compilation of bibliography of publications written on His Majesty the King to commemorate the 60th anniversary of ascending to throne which was a collaboration between Department of Science Services and the National Library, and a digital archives project in cooperation with Thai Library Association.

It was reported that requests for revision of the National Committee were submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister 5 times in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Cabinet approved the continuation of the National Committee on January 9, 2007 and this will allow the National Library to call on meeting with the National Coordinating Centers to discuss future activities. The absence of the ThaiNATIS meeting though may be postponed as long as the National Library who acts as the National Committee still waits for the official revision of the National Coordinating Centers.

5.1.2 The implications of ThaiNATIS and the National Coordinating Centers Policy

It is important to observe the level of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from the implementation of the National Information Policy by investigating: the improvement of communication systems, information services, and information professionals which are the working basis of ThaiNATIS.

1.Improvement of communication systems

A scope of communication systems is by initiating surveys of national,
regional, and international information services, setting up bibliographic
standards for computerization through ISO, setting up international
journal registration unit, encouraging cooperation to control indexing
languages for science and technology information, seeking computer
experts to work on standards, considering networking for communication
of scientific information
Action Plan 1987-1990 was set up within a scope of ThaiNATIS to survey the
information resources, to build the information network, standards and tools,
and to develop union list of serials. These activities were corresponded with
National Information Policy on the allocation or resources for improvement of
information infrastructure rending with the national plan.

A current status of communication systems can be described as there were a number of surveys on information services performed by several institutions during the Action Plan 1987-1990. The results from the surveys however were little known to derive or to be recognized as the work of ThaiNATIS. Regarding the standards and tools for library and information resources management, a number of works have been accomplished by the university libraries for example: rules for cataloging personal and corporate authors, subject headings for Thai publications. The Thai Library Association has announced library standards with continuous revisions. Thai Library Association Standards provide useful guidelines for library and information planning. A standard for Thai libraries was revised and issued in 2006, and was based on the National Education Act 1999. Thai Library Association also issued standards for public libraries (2007), special libraries (2002), standard for vocational and technological education libraries (1992), and standard for school libraries (1990).

2.Improvement of information services

A scope of information services is aimed at
strengthening science libraries, improving
abstracting and indexing services, and
setting up an information center to evaluate
journal quality
Regarding this guideline, the ThaiNATIS Action Plan 1987-1991 was set up to develop a union list of
serials. This action was not clearly stated in the National Information Policy, however a great deal
of improvement of information services can be illustrated from the actual development of science
libraries in terms of modernized indexing services as well as the initiatives to establish new styles
of libraries and information services. Nick Moore’s outline was stated in item 3 on the information
sector which included activities related to information content, delivery and processing mechanisms.

Although the development of libraries showed active strategies and strong implementation of institutional policies, very little relationship with regard to the National Information Policy was noted, for the cases of National Coordinating Centers which mentioned only their role to represent coordinating bodies under ThaiNATIS. Science libraries under Ministry of Science and Technology have experienced certain changes at different paces and styles. A library of Department of Science Services was restructured and changed the name to Bureau of Science and Technology Information (BSTI) in 2002. As a national coordinating center for science and technology, BSTI has continued to revise the work plan to improve journal indexing and abstracting for online service to the public, as well as to initiate the SDI service. Other MOST libraries and information service namely Thai National Documentation Center (TNDC), and Library of the Office of Atomic Energy for Peace managed to implement library automation system. Science libraries entered the new changes in 2005 seen from STKC - MOST initiative which is a web portal of science and technology information created by MOST. Public access to STKC-Science and Technology Knowledge Center was opened as gateway to virtual library, e-knowledge, e-learning, e-museum, e-service, and e-forum. STKC comprises all departments under MOST from which information stored in print and digital formats were linked as virtual one stop search with mostly full-text articles available online.

3.Improvement of information professionals

A scope of information professional is aimed at
encouraging authors and editors of scientific
journals to be responsible, for keeping journal
quality, organizing training on information
services to librarians and information
specialists, and support research projects on
information science
ThaiNATIS Action Plan 1987-1991 stated that human resource development be included. Activities that
were implemented were focused more in professional development in the aspects of providing support
for continuing education and training. ThaiNATIS played significant role at the beginning which can be
seen from training offered by Chulalongkorn University in the use of UNESCO free software - CDS/ISIS
in library catalogs and bibliographic databases. ThaiNATIS initiative in computerization marked a good
start for computerization in Thai libraries. Library automation today owed great benefit from the
introduction of standards for storage and retrieval of electronic documents.

It was originally that ThaiNATIS paid much attention in quality aspect of information service particularly the quality improvement of professional journals. The work in this professional area has been accomplished by institutions and organizatons which were established after the establishment of the National Information Policy. It is important to find out the role of the ThaiNATIS in this regard. There is a need also to find out the contribution of the National Committee in research projects on information science.

Journal quality improvement

There have been activities in the improvement of quality of scholarly communication, especially through journals. The leading organizations are the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Thailand Research Fund (TRF). Since 2002, TRF has set a quality criteria for “good” journals in science and social science fields and encourage scientific journal editors to follow the criteria. At the same time, HEC has provided financial support to selected journals that published according to the set criteria. With respect to published research papers, lecturers and researchers are encouraged to publish their research reportts in those qualified journals, both locally and internationally. The publication reference records would then be used as part of academic promotion process. These movements contribute positive impact to the nation scholarly publishing. Apart from that, the TRF also provides financial support to certain research projects aiming at journal quality improvement including
Thai Journal Citation Index Center (TCI)

TCI has been established in July 1, 2004 as a consequence of 2 research projects conducted by researchers at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT). The Center has been funded by Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and KMUTT since 2001. The first two research projects leading to the establishment of the TCI center was entitled “A study and development of Journal Impact Factor of scholarly journals in Thailand”, funded by KMUTT and TRF. These projects studied 68 and 87 journals respectively which published in Thailand and reported the journal impact factor values of those journals. It was found that the citation rate of those journals was only 8% which was very low. The Thailand Research Fund has been keen to improve scholarly journal quality so it provides financial support and approval the establishment of the center which is called “Thai Journal Citation Index Center (TCI)”. The first phase of the establishment, between 2002-June 2006, was funded through the research project entitled “Database Development for Thai scholarly journals”.

The major objectives of this study are to develop a database for
research papers appeared in scholarly journals which published in Thailand and to report the journal impact factors of those journals which have publication date between 2002 and 2006. This research project commenced on July 1, 2002 and finished on June 30, 2006. The research found that: 166 scholarly journals, published during 2001-2006, stored in the Thai Journal Citation Index Database or TCI database (as of June 28, 2007). Of the 166 journals, there are 21,184 research papers with 9,555 times cited, making the citation ratio per article being 0.451. The journals in TCI database have average Journal Impact Factors, Journal Immediacy Index, and Journal Cited Half-life being 0.060, 0.044 and 5.2 years respectively. The existing and the performance of the TCI Centre make positive impacts to Thai academic sector. These include the existing of the database where general publication details and the citations can be retrieved online which leads to the application in the wider area. Further more, the data generates by TCI database has been used for different purposes, such as for making policy regarding journals and research quality, research assessment, allocation of research funding, and universities accreditation. (TCI Center, 2007)

National and international organizations must support research projects on information science

Noted, however that development of information service especially in journal quality improvement and bibliographic tools have been possible from organizational support outside a scope of ThaiNATIS. Thailand Research Fund (TRF) funded several research projects on journal quality improvement namely Thai Journal Citation Index database, Thai Journal Impact Factor Initiative, and a ISI compliant standard for Thai scientific journals. TRF also funded Journallink which is the first online fee-based document delivery service operated as automatic prepaid system to facilitated access to scientific journals available from more than 200 libraries in Thailand. www.journallink.or.th

5.1.3 The assessment of National Information Policy

It is rather clear the National Information Policy has lost momentum for the past twenty years. The question is whether it is fair enough to claim or to mention success stories of the National Coordinating Centers to say that the National Information Policy of Thailand is successful. Points must be noted from analysis of the structure and the implementation of the National Committee and that of the National Coordinating Centers:

  • 1.A majority of participating members of both entities comprised of university high level officials, and some from special libraries. There was no participation from the public and school libraries.
  • 2.A secretariat of the National Committee is the National Library whose status began as a division under the Department of Fine Arts whose mission does not actually correspond with the development of education policy or information technology or information infrastructure of the country
  • 3.Political changes had great impact on the work progress of the National Committee for it is a national committee under the cabinet, and needs to receive approval for every revision of the status
  • 4.Development of university libraries showed an advantage from better access as well as better awareness of the National Information Policy, therefore were able to implement the concept to the institutional plan. This is in terms of budget proposals and human resources development
  • 5.Lack of communication between the National Committee and the National Coordinating Centers
  • 6.Lack publicity from the National Committee and the National Coordinating Centers despite ongoing activities performed in the ThaiNATIS behalf
  • 7.Lack of information as there was no official report on the performance of the National Information Policy, except the irregular and not updated reports from the National Coordinating Centers websites

Referred to the discussion in 5.1.1, it showed that most accomplishments represented the status of library and information services of Thailand. The development nevertheless did not all come from the support of the National Committee and the National Information Policy. Our analysis illustrates the milestones of development in library and information services and the progress in ICT which is needed to implement the national development in today’s knowledge society. This can be illustrated in decades of development activities. The milestones can be considered as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the systems and policies. The picture can probably provide information for future planning to revitalize the role of the National Committee and the ThaiNATIS.

National Information Policy 1986

Action Plan 1987-1991

10 years later

National ICT Policy 2001

7years later

10th National Economic and Social Development Plan 2007

Knowledge-based Economy

ThaiNATIS five year Action Plan 1987-1991

ThaiNATIS started its five year action plan in 1987 by setting the activities and time-frame which covered:

1. surveying of information resources,
working manuals, manpower, equipment
and systems, and laws, rules and
regulations
1988. A survey of databases in Thailand was conducted by a sub-committee on university library
development within a scope of ThaiNATIS. The result from the survey was reported at the annual
conference on university library cooperation and used for planning university library services in the
following aspects:
- Acquisition of library resources
- Accurate selection to meet user needs
- Sharing knowledge on database development
- Cooperation and expansion to build a national network

It was reported that there were 143 databases created by government and private departments,
and there were 75 databases created by universities.

There could have occasional updates of the database surveys but reports were not published,
nor available from ThaiNATIS.

There is no statistical report on the status of manpower, equipment and systems that represent
library services and systems.

There has been continuous request for laws, rules and regulations related to library and information
services.
2. building the information system network,
standards and new working manuals,
specialized subject vocabulary and
computer system
PULINET was initiated by a board of provincial universities in 1985 to form a provincial university
library and information network. There were 5 universities at the beginning:
Chiang Mai Khon Kaen , Prince of Songkla , Maejo, and Sri Nakarinwirot Universities. The network
aimed at cooperation in resource development, modernizing services and document delivery
as well as implementation of new information technology. PULINET action plan focused on setting up
standards, building local and inter institutional networks.

ThaiLIS was then established as national university network which included and expanded PULINET.

University Library Working groups were formed to create and update working manuals such as subject
headings for Thai publications resources, and translated cataloging rules.
Also a group of Ministry of Science and Technology had adapted science and technology subject headings
and thesauri such as OECD thesaurus, and Nuclear thesaurus. Library of the Bank of Thailand translated
World Bank thesaurus into Thai language for using together with the English version.

There were a lot of development in creating tools for storage and retrieval of information during
the five year action plan, and the activities have continued more in university libraries than other
types of libraries. Other libraries however have adopted the tools in their work.
3.developing sub-systems such as union
list of serials and serials clearinghouse
Union list of serials was compiled and updated several times to provide location of journals available
in Thailand. The project was continued and funded by Commission of Higher Education.

National Coordinating Center on science and technology continued to compile index to science and
technology journals for online searching, and has accumulated to 20,387 records in 2006.

Other National Coordinating Centers also produced indexing services of journals but did not report
as the ThaiNATIS.
4.drafting and revising laws, rules and
regulations such as library law, expansion
and upgrading of information institutions
National Library law was drafted and approved by Ministry of Culture and has been under consideration
by the Royal Law Committee Office before submitting to the cabinet in 2007.
5.developing human resources by
professional training and study visits and
continuing education
CDS/ISIS training at Chulalongkorn University Academic Resource Center.
6.publicity through mass media, pamphlets
and brochures, meetings for executives and
staff at practical levels
National Library produced brochures, pamphlets, and organized the first meeting of all National
Coordinating Centers and presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister in 1989. There were meetings
of the individual National Coordinating Centers several times during the five year action plan.
It was reported that there were rarely any meetings overt the past ten years.

National Coordinating Center on Science and Technology, and National Coordinating Center on Economics
have provided quarterly newsletters and on web pages for communication with the member libraries and
for public.
7.financing by seeking aids from possible
funding sources and donors
Proposal request for funding from UNDP In 1989.

As noted that the implementation of the National Information Policy 1986 and ThaiNATIS were active only during the first few years, this could be a factor which caused the unsuccessful role of the policy. If we compare the movement of the National ICT Policy 2000 and ICT 2010, then the difference in operational plan between the two policies can be seen. National ICT Policy was focused on establishing the enabling measures such as the need to have laws to provide legal status of authorized bodies to implement the action plan with budget allocation. The National Information Policy failed to initiate the laws that would enable the establishment of authorized institution to be responsible for implementing the planned activities. The planned activities during the 5 year action plan did not assign any authorized hosts to operate and did not request for government budget for materialization. It may be rather late to restart the National Information Policy at this time, however it is possible to take lessons learned from success stories of the National ICT Policy and encourage the National Coordinating Centers and potential beneficiaries such as Thai Library Association to cooperate in working towards leading Thailand to become a knowledge-based society.

5.2 The direction appropriate for the implementation of the National Information Policy

The National Information Policy has received the approval from the cabinet to Continue the role as National Committee of Direction and Coordination of ThaiNATIS on January 9, 2007. This means a meaningful chance to call for revitalization of the networking activities. It is important for the National Library on behalf of NCDC to act immediately on revision of the organizational structures both for the NCDC authoritative role and on updating of National Coordinating Centers. It must be noted that National Coordinating Centers have more potential than NCDC to progress in terms of library and information services. The question is whether or not such progress has moved in appropriate direction, and economically. There is still need to draw a point of coordination among the institutions whose responsibilities are in management of libraries, information and knowledge resources.

The first priorities are for the National Library (NCDC) to act upon the original objectives which are:

5.2.1 Surveying existing resources including ICT and human capitol.

At present there is no information on the national level as to obtain the data on a number of books, journals, databases, multimedia available in libraries in Thailand. It is difficult to search for statistical data on financial investment nor budget allocation for knowledge acquisition to represent the big picture of the country. The National Coordinating Centers can continue to collect new data from network libraries. And, in order to have complete information, NCDC can coordinate with Thai Library Association to perform surveys on different libraries groups. The data from the survey will be useful in planning the action plan of educational, information and knowledge institutions according to the 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan.

5.2.2 SWOT analysis

The findings from this study show that it is important to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the area of libraries, information and knowledge management. The result from SWOT analysis is useful for strategic planning of the new action plan for NCDC in the future.

5.2.3 Literacy issues

The 10th National Economic and Social Development Plan 2008-2012 Stated clearly that Thailand is moving into the knowledge-based society and economy. Therefore the country needs to invest in knowledge industry, and needs to have literate citizens in functional literacy and ICT literacy. It is stated clearly that government budget will be allocated to the human capitol in the industrial sector as well as in education for all. The National Plan specifies that enough facilities such as central laboratories and testing units must be built to serve the workers in industry and other productive sectors in improving the working skill. There is much need in creating knowledge in order to provide the workers to become knowledge workers who will work creatively and able to create innovations. The National Plan does not mention directly the need to develop library and information services in non-academic sector. And this is the gap that the Thai people have no or ineffective library and information service to support working in a knowledge-based society. Librarians and information workers can play effectively as trainers of information literacy and ICT literacy. At present the information literacy problems have been recognized only in the educational institutions and actions have not been implemented seriously in real working environment for special libraries and information services still suffer from lack of budget to acquire information resources as well as for staff employment. The need for information literacy improvement is noted to focus on information users and on the service side that is librarians and information service personnel also must be taken care of in terms of information literacy.

5.2.4 Human resources planning

The new direction of NCDC needs to focus on the improvement of the profession. Professional status and career path of librarians and information service personnel has been serious problem that librarians faced with for a long time. The National Committee should pay more attention and put stronger effort in working on the laws that support the library and information profession. Professional librarians and information specialists must be trained in their specialized subject areas which no other professionals are trained similarly. The work in knowledge management and resources organization needs special expertise in library and information science. But, in the real world librarians and information service personnel faced a lot of problems in their career path. NCDC can collaborate with Thai Library Association to work on certification for professional librarians and information personnel. This problem needs to be solved and there are successful cases finished by other professions such as lawyers, engineers doctors and nurses. There is also a need for in depth research on the impact from country’s movement into knowledge-based society without professional knowledge workers who will manage the knowledge resources from the basis of international standards.

5.3 National Information Policy and Universal Access to information and knowledge with focus on freedom of expression

It is noted that the government concerns for the limited scope of the National Information Policy to focus on the technical or academic information and not to interfere the national security issues. The content of the National Information Policy mentioned however the citizen’s right of information according to the human rights as worldwide acceptance. This research examined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 1997, the National Official Information Act 1997, and the National Education Act 1999.

Freedom – a definition has been discussed in a sense whether “freedom” and “right” mean the same. It can be summarized that “right” means a power by law which a person is protected or can manage one’s asset, or a power to allow others to act or not to act on one’s behalf or on one’s right, or one’s benefit that is accepted and protected by law. “Freedom” means benefit that is obtained without any legal authority or it means that anyone is free to act freely, a power to act and not to act, and a status of any human which is not controlled by others, a status which is not objected by others, or a person should have freedom as long as one is not forced to act and not to act on what one is not willing, in short freedom is a power of a person to decide as one wishes.

Academic freedom in Thailand context means a person’s right to learn, to train and to educate as well to teach and to publish research reports in according to academic disciplines. This includes a person’s right to research and to search, to discuss the educational services, and is protected by the civilian duties of being good citizenship.

(Ref. Setarat Thornsena: Academic freedom under Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 1997, 2003. A master thesis, Chulalongkorn University)

อ้างอิง: วิทยานิพนธ์ เศรษฐรัช ธรเสนา เสรีภาพทางวิชาการตามรัฐธรรมนูญ พ.ศ.2540 สาขาวิชานิติศาสตร์ จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย ปีการศึกษา 2544

National Commission on Human Rights of Thailand 2001 (2542) defines that human rights means human dignity, rights, freedom and equality of person which is protected by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand or by Thai law and by the international agreement which Thailand is committed to follow.

5.3.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights





Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(Cont’d)
Article 26
1.Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and
fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional
education shall be made publicly available to all on the basis of merit.

2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the
strengthening of the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote
understanding tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial and religious groups, and shall
further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children

Article 27
1.Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy
the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits,

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting
from any scientific, literary and artistic production of which he is the author.


Article 29
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his
personality is possible.
2.In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such
limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing recognition and
respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of
morally, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society

3.These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised in contrary to the purposes
and principles of the United Nations.
5.3.2 Constitution of the Kingdom of
Thailand 1997
(Cont’d)






Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 1997
Article 42
All citizens have freedom in the academic information ,education, training, teaching and
learning, research and professional publications have protection according to citizen’s duties
and moral conduct

Article 43
All citizens have equal rights to have access to basic education of a minimum 12 years
which the government must provide free of charge.
Public education must consider public
participation from local and private as specified by laws.
Professional educational systems offered by the government have the protection as specified
by laws.

Article 58
All citizens have the rights to know and to receive public information owned by the
government with the exception to the case that the disclosure of the information
can cause the national insecurity
or concern for stakeholders shall be protected as specified
by laws.

Article 59
All citizens have the rights to receive information, explanations and reasons from the
government before allowing or giving permission to operate any projects that
can have negative impact on the environmental quality, public health and quality
of life or concerns of the stakeholders as persons or communities, and have the rights to
express the opinion regarding the activities according to the public hearing as specified
by law.

It is interesting to note the implication from a scope of the National Information Policy that is focused on academic information and not to relate the activities with any information that will interfere the safeguarding to the national security. The Constitution 1997 Article 42 specified a scope of freedom in a sense that it is protected by institutions. The Constitution 1997 protected a thinking process and fact finding on academic matters that is on science of knowledge specifically however only scientific research which, as explained, is a science of nature, living and not living which can be proved by scientific evidence. Therefore, ideas, beliefs and practical concrete concepts, and theory of knowledge are freedom of thoughts and minds which people should have. The freedom is abstract and uncontrollable, though which enabled the research in science to be practical and concrete with definite theoretical rules and formula. Scientific research as such means a basis of expanded knowledge and new theories without social prejudice.

The Constitution 1997 Article 42 does not protect the academic freedom for social science research. The explanation was social science is moralistic, and intangible, and difficult to display as operational with no distortion of the findings with the except for expression on different beliefs. Academic freedom for social science research is arguable, and not completely protected by the Constitution 1997.

The academic freedom is related to freedom of expression. Noted A Master Plan on National Human Rights Commission 2542 with a summary on human rights violation on Mass Media in Thailand as followed:

  • 1.Blocking path against the media in searching for information still exists although there is a National law on Official Information
  • 2.Freedom of expression for the press is still blocked or censored strictly by the government including radio, television and films
  • 3.Private enterprise is not allowed to operate the radio and television broadcasting frequency
  • 4.Citizen’s right and freedom to receive information and service from the mass media and freedom of expression is still prohibited
  • 5.Resources for mass media that belonged to the public are not utilized for the public benefit but to serve the interest of certain groups

Recommendations from the Master Plan

  • 1.Revise and redraft the laws to serve the Constitution to cover all areas of mass media
  • 2.Push the law to set up the independent organizations under the government to set up the criteria for operating broadcasting services considering: freedom of expression, freedom of access to information, citizen’s rights to use public mass media for education, developing quality of life, society, environment, art and culture and political participation
  • 3.push the Master Plan on radio and television broadcasting for private enterprise and allow people’s participation in the operation of the services

Rapid change of the Internet technology has great influence upon library and
information profession today. Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 brought about the opportunity for information users and workers to express freely and independently on the web. A tremendous amount of information has been posted on blogs and wiki and created social networking for anyone to share on globally and at fast speed. A question is the reliability of the information and what criteria can be undertaken to protect citizen’s rights from violation and mistakes. The argument on Open Access for All and freedom of information and freedom of expression is much still to debate.



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