Thailand

Blasphemy with prison sentencesThailand has no official state religion; however, Theravada Buddhism receives significant government support and privileges, including protection of Buddhist beliefs from “insult”.

The 2007 constitution generally provides for freedom of speech; however, laws prohibiting speech likely to insult Buddhism and other religions remain in place.

The 1962 Sangha Act (amended in 1992) specifically prohibits the defamation or insult of Buddhism and the Buddhist clergy. Violators of the law can face up to one year’s imprisonment or fines of up to 20,000 baht (approximately $667). The 1956 penal code’s sections 206 to 208 (last amended in 1976) prohibit the insult or disturbance of religious places or services of all officially recognized religious groups. Penalties range from imprisonment of one to seven years or a fine of 2,000 to 14,000 baht ($67 to $467).