Thai junta silences free speech

Telecom Asia editors
21 Jul 2014

Thailand’s ruling military junta has issued its most Orwellian decree yet, cracking down on free speech.

The junta has issued an order prohibiting all media, including online media, from criticising the junta or any of its actions, and even prohibiting broadcast media from interviewing anyone critical of the junta.

National Council for Peace and Order order number 97 section 2 prohibits all intellectuals from criticising the junta. It orders editors, talk show hosts, media and media owners on broadcast media from interviewing academics, former civil servants, former judiciary and NGOs where they may something that is disharmonious, confusing or may lead to violence.

Section 3 orders all media - both private and state-owned, in the form of broadcast radio, terrestrial broadcast television, satellite television, digital cable television, internet television, newspapers, magazines, all internet media as well as social networks - to cooperate with the NCPO for dissemination of information. It prohibits broadcast of any of the following categories:

1. Anything untrue, libellous or hateful of the monarchy, heir to the throne or royal family.

2. Anything that threatens national security or is libellous.

3. Any criticism of the NCPO, NCPO officers or anyone that is related to the NCPO.

4. Any audio, images or video of state secrets.

5. Any information that leads to confusion, heated emotions or disharmony in the Kingdom.

6. Any act inciting people to oppose the NCPO.

7. Any threatening act that makes the victim fearful.

Section 5 stipulates that anyone breaking these guidelines will be immediately seized or taken off line and prosecuted by officials.

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