BANGKOK – The National Council for Peace and Order tightened restrictions on the media in Thailand last night in a new order that was carried on national television immediately after General Prayuth Chan-ocha delivered his weekly ”Return Happiness to the People” broadcast.
The Khaosod published the NCPO reminded all media agencies, “both state- and private-owned,” to refrain from publishing any of the following content:
(1) False information that tends to be libelous, or incite hatred against the monarchy, the Designated Heir to the Throne, and all members of the Royal Family.
(2) News that are detrimental to the national security or libelous against other individuals.
(3) Criticism of operations of the National Council for Peace and Order, its officials, or any related individual.
(4) Audio, images, or videos that contain secrets of operations of any bureaucratic agency.
(5) News or information that causes confusion, incites disputes, or leads to disunity in the Kingdom
(6) Invitation or plotting to organize in manner that may lead to resistance against officials or individuals related to the National Council for Peace and Order
(7) Threats to harm individuals that may panic or frighten the public.
Failure to adhere to these rules will result in censorship, the announcement says. The junta added that law enforcement officials will also pursue legal action against the violators.
The rules apply to all types of media agencies, such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and “online social media.”
The media is also forbidden from interviewing or giving a platform to “academics, former bureaucrats, and those who had worked in the court, the legal systems, and independent agencies” who might escalate the country’s political conflict, distort information, or confuse the public.
Furthermore, the announcement advised all provincial governors, bureaucrats, and police to crack down on any public protests against the NCPO in a swift manner.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha took control of a deeply divided Thailand on May 22 to prevent possible violence and has said that the Army will remain in charge until the middle of 2015.
Phuketwan advises its readers in Thailand and around the world that the new order will apply to comments made on articles.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha also said on Friday night the international community should allow Thailand to play leading or crucial role in the international arena.