Thai censors have blocked Marshall’s piece, but that hasn’t stopped Thais, who have grown adept at circumventing digital barriers, from reading it. After posting part one on his website, zenjournalist.com, in June, he picked up thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends, mostly young Thais, overnight. His site had 250,000 hits in its first month. Meanwhile, a group of Thais—on their own initiative, and not without some personal risk—are translating it and have created a site, #thaistory blog, to host the content and discussion.

Marshall says he will publish a similar treatment of the cache of cables from Burma next, and hopes to remain solvent by doing political-risk consulting (the cables are useful for that, too). He deserves a LAUREL for creating, at great personal and professional cost, a detailed public record of power politics and their consequences in a country where information and honest debate have long been suppressed. 

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Erika Fry is a former assistant editor at CJR.