BANGKOK – Thailand’s army chief General Prayut Chan-Ocha on Tuesday ordered the censorship of the media in the interests of “national security” in a signed statement delivered on every television station.
The army “prohibits all media outlets from reporting or distribution of any news or still photographs detrimental to national security,” said the statement by General Prayut Chan-Ocha which was broadcast on every channel.
The order affects “all radio broadcasting stations, television stations and satellite and cable television stations, newspapers both government and privately run”.
Thai army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha called a meeting of the heads of government departments for Tuesday to map a way forward. He has said that power remains in the hands of the present interim administration. However, acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is already facing challenges from a group of Senators, who have proposed the setting up of a new unelected government.
Foreign governments have expressed their concern over Tuesday’s developments. “We expect the Army to honor its commitment to make this a temporary action to prevent violence, and to not undermine democratic institutions,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The Australian government said that it encouraged “all parties to resolve their political differences through peaceful democratic processes.”