Support the dictatorship in the media or else

1 03 2015

The Dictator is becoming increasingly demanding of the already supine media. As Khaosod observes, “Many news agencies in Thailand have exercised self-censorship in the face of intimidation from the junta…”.

Junta boss and self-appointed Prime Minister and retired General Prayuth Chan-ocha has again warned the media to support the military dictatorship. Prayuth repeatedly demonstrates not just intolerance but a penchant for grinding his opposition to dust. Frankly, this is the most repressive and dangerous political leader Thailand has known since the short-lived, palace-anointed regime led by Privy Councilor Thanin Kraivixien.

Prayuth angryPrayuth lambasted “certain TV channels” that he claims have “incorrectly” analyzed “the junta’s national reform effort…”. In his one-man propaganda show broadcast weekly to the entire cvuntry, The Dictator opined: “I listen to [certain channels] and wonder, eh, why don’t they understand us? Sometimes they talk in a totally opposite manner.”

In fact, the problem for Prayuth is that this media does understand him and his junta’s plans. In effect, he is complaining that some media factually report on the dictatorship’s repression and plans for cementing its position into the future.

The autocratic General demanded that Thais “[l]earn to use the correct channel…”. He means the nation should only listen to the junta’s propaganda. As is his habit, The Dictator was threatening: “Many shows and many channels still have problem with this…. I may need to summon you for a discussion.”

Imaginatively, he babbled: “I am not censoring you. But you invite academics and guests who give totally opposite views of the issues. They talk about things that are incorrect and inaccurate.” Prayuth doesn’t want contradiction, demanding that media commentators “help… move the country forward,” rather than “engaging in debates.”

Finally, Prayuth made it clear – as if it were necessary – that the junta remains in control and directs everything, stating that the Cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the National Reform Council and the Constitution Drafting Committee are subordinate to the junta: “As for the solving problems and moving the country forward [sic.], the government has been doing it continuously. They do it with NCPO. The NCPO [the junta] is the source, you know. What they have been calling the Five Rivers [the 5 arms of the junta’s administration] actually flows down from the NCPO…. Therefore, the NCPO has to be informed about everything, and everything needs the NCPO’s agreement.”

This hardly bears repeating; it has been a fact since the 2014 coup.


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