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» The Thai Journalists Association wound up the year by issuing a depressing statement. It rated 2017 as yet another year where the free press was regulated and intimidated by the military government. The TJA said the regime hinders the media by restricting freedom of expression. And it says this causes public harm by not allowing examination and by barring criticism of the junta, collectively and individually.
» Alarming reports are coming from Washington about the highly anticipated Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. It seems that US officials have been ordered to promote Malaysia from Tier 3, the bottom ranking where Thailand was controversially placed last year. The reports - not denied by US officials - say Malaysia's rise back to Tier 2 was for purely political reasons, because President Barack Obama needs Malaysia's support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.
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