The document claims the coverage may have harmed the “national security” or the “good morals” of the Thai people.
Police in Thailand are requesting an investigation by four independent media outlets and a protest group into their coverage of the recent protests on suspicion of violating emergency measures to restrict information. This emerges from a document released by local media on Monday.
“It seems that there was content that compromised the security of the state, peace and order or the good morality of the people,” the October 16 document quoted the police as saying.
Police said they would ask Thailand’s Broadcasting Authority and the digital ministry to investigate outlets, which include Voice TV, The Reporters and Prachathai, “suspend broadcasting or remove computer information,” the statement said.
Police said there would be a briefing on the matter but made no immediate comment.
In response, Prachathai said it was “an honor to report accurate information on human rights and political developments” and would do his best to continue to do so. Thapanee Eidsrichai, founder of The Reporters, said the organization has not yet received an official mandate and that the organization will “continue to do its duty”.
The government has ordered @prachatai, @thereportersth, @thestandardth and @FreeYOUTHth to be censored. #save สื่อ เสรี leads Thailand’s Twitter.
We are honored to provide accurate information on human rights and political developments in Thailand and will do our best to continue to do so. pic.twitter.com/d6uc8PinzF
– Prachatai English (@prachatai_en) October 19, 2020
The Thai government decided, citing “national security” to intensify the fight against the press. You are amazingly deaf. One of the pillars of this movement is freedom of expression. But the government continues to show contempt for the voices of its people. https://t.co/rwSS9745BX
– Caleb Quinley (@calebquinley) October 19, 2020
The editorial staff of the Thai Enquirer, which was not one of those named in the document, advocated free media.
“Instead of debating, opening debates and opening the press, the government has decided to use its authoritarian roots and censor, shut down and intimidate journalists who are working to present the news,” wrote editor-in-chief Cod Satrusayang in a statement, calling for it the government to revoke the order.
Despite a government protest ban on Thursday, thousands of anti-government protesters took over major intersections in Bangkok on Sunday.
They are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led a coup in 2014 and cemented his position in last year’s elections, and for reform of the monarchy.
A prime minister’s spokesman said Sunday that Prayuth was concerned about the spread of the protests and wanted to speak.