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Worldcrunch is a Paris-based digital news magazine, delivering the best international journalism in English for the first time. We work with the world's top media sources (Le Monde, Les Echos, Die Welt, Kommersant, El Espectador and 25+ others) and a team of multilingual journalists and translators to publish exclusive reportage and provide a uniquely global view of events.


"Worldcrunch allows you to tap the editorial expertise of leading news outlets around the world with a kaleidoscope of perspectives on global issues."

— The New York Times Syndicate

HOW WE DO IT

How do you build a new worldwide source of quality journalism from the bottom up? How do you cover all the angles of an ever more complicated, interconnected world, and not go broke in the process? How do you deliver global journalism that is actually global?

Our starting point was to break down that invisible wall of language that shuts off much of the world's best news coverage. Together, we could rethink the most basic ways to reach readers with great stories, see how far technology can take us and where a human touch is necessary.

Worldcrunch is the first news source to allow readers in English to have access to top international journalism, regardless of its original language. We work with the world's leading news brands, identifying their most relevant and fascinating stories and applying our unique, journalistic system of professional translation and editing. (Yes, we are humans here!)

With this method, we are able to deliver on-the-ground reportage from across the globe, as well as sharp analysis from a wider range of viewpoints than you can find anywhere else. Worldcrunch reports the big story hiding in a small town in China, cultural clashes that connect the continents, the latest in food and travel from the next European city you'll be visiting, a surprising opinion from voices you wouldn't have otherwise been able to understand. (And no, you won't always agree with them.)

Worldcrunch is a strong believer in the power of networks. We have established partnerships with top media brands around the world to build a framework for copyright access and distribution. We also have a growing network of journalists and translators around the planet, with whom we are refining the system for spotting the right story in any language, and delivering it accurately and artfully in English.

The other network, of course, is you. We've stayed in regular touch with our readers since we launched a few years back, eager to see how you think, what you want, who you are. It's exciting and encouraging, though sometimes confounding. Still, we're getting a pretty clear picture of what draws people to our site.

We know, for example, that it's likely that you've traveled outside your country at least once in the past year (or wish you had), and many of you can communicate in another language other than your own (or wish you could!). You are eager to find fresh ways into ongoing stories and debates, and needless to say you are acutely curious about world events. You are someone who doesn't just land in a new place and stand back or lean back, you seek out, soak in. You overhear a conversation in a language you don't know and wonder what they might be talking about ... and glance at the local papers in a faraway place and ask yourself what's really happening here. This is the need we aspire to respond to. And we're glad you've found us.

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Here's an interview with Worldcrunch co-founder Jeff Israely. We have been written about in The New York Times. We've also been featured in the Harvard Nieman Lab, Columbia Journalism Review, and WAN IFRA, among other publications.

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Geopolitics

How Thailand's Lèse-Majesté Law Is Used To Stifle All Protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

Pro-Democracy protest at The Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand

Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

"We need to reform the institution of the monarchy in Thailand. It is the root of the problem." Those words, from Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan, are a clear expression of the growing youth-led movement that is challenging the legitimacy of the government and demanding deep political changes in the Southeast Asian nation. Yet those very same words could also send Sirikan to jail.

Thailand's Criminal Code 'Lèse-Majesté' Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family.


But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

The recent report 'Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand', documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations."

Criticism of any 'royal project'

The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. Nineteen of them served jail time. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

Juthatip Sirikan explains that the law is now being applied in such a broad way that people are not allowed to question government budgets and expenditure if they have any relationship with the royal family, which stifles criticism of the most basic government decision-making since there are an estimated 5,000 ongoing "royal" projects. "Article 112 of lèse-majesté could be the key (factor) in Thailand's political problems" the young activist argues.

In 2020 the Move Forward opposition party questioned royal spending paid by government departments, including nearly 3 billion baht (89,874,174 USD) from the Defense Ministry and Thai police for royal security, and 7 billion baht budgeted for royal development projects, as well as 38 planes and helicopters for the monarchy. Previously, on June 16, 2018, it was revealed that Thailand's Crown Property Bureau transferred its entire portfolio to the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

photo of graffiti of 112 crossed out on sidewalk

Protestors In Bangkok Call For Political Prisoner Release

Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

Freedom of speech at stake

"Article 112 shuts down all freedom of speech in this country", says Sirikan. "Even the political parties fear to touch the subject, so it blocks most things. This country cannot move anywhere if we still have this law."

The student activist herself was charged with lèse-majesté in September 2020, after simply citing a list of public documents that refer to royal family expenditure. Sirikan comes from a family that has faced the consequences of decades of political repression. Her grandfather, Tiang Sirikhan was a journalist and politician who openly protested against Thailand's involvement in World War II. He was accused of being a Communist and abducted in 1952. According to Sirikhan's family, he was killed by the state.

The new report was conducted by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR), and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw). It accuses Thai authorities of an increasingly broad interpretation of Article 112, to the point of "absurdity," including charges against people for criticizing the government's COVID-19 vaccine management, wearing crop tops, insulting the previous monarch, or quoting a United Nations statement about Article 112.

Juthatip Sirikan speaks in front of democracy monument.

Shift to social media

While in the past the Article was only used against people who spoke about the royals, it's now being used as an alibi for more general political repression — which has also spurred more open campaigning to abolish it. Sirikan recounts recent cases of police charging people for spreading paint near the picture of the king during a protest, or even just for having a picture of the king as phone wallpaper.

The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them.

Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind. In October 2020, Twitter took down 926 accounts, linked to the army and the government, which promoted themselves and attacked political opposition, and this June, Google removed two Maps with pictures, names, and addresses, of more than 400 people who were accused of insulting the Thai monarchy. "They are trying to control the internet as well," Sirikan says. "They are trying to censor every content that they find a threat".

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