Political voice is usually considered to be the ability to express views and interests and to influence policy and decision-making processes.
One of the complaints made about electoralism is that it allows just a few minutes of voice.Yet for Thailand’s military dictatorship, any political voice is dangerous and threatening, and it prefers political silence.
At Khaosod it is reported that “Thais will not be allowed to independently campaign either for or against their new constitution before it goes before voters in a referendum as soon as January.”
Junta hireling Wissanu Krea-ngam has declared “that public debate over its [the draft constitution] merits and deficiencies will only be allowed at officially sanctioned forums organized by the Election Commission and balanced accounts in recognized news media.” There can be no other “political gatherings.”
Wissanu”explained” that ” the government will have to keep its the lid on free speech in the months leading to the referendum for the sake of stability.”
The remarkably daft Election Commission stated: “Campaigns to influence the referendum cannot be done, whether to tell people to accept or reject the charter draft…. If anyone or any group comes out to campaign about the referendum, they will be guilty of violating NCPO order No. 7, which bans political assemblies.”
The EC and Wissanu are clear that political voice is verboten.
Update: In a new report at Khaosod its is explained that the military dictatorship’s “ban on ‘campaigning’ for or against the new constitution will include uses of social media…”. Wissanu stated that “the ban will also cover using social media to ‘mobilize supporters’ in support or opposition to the new constitution.” If this wasn’t clear enough, the hireling declared:
“If you send Line or SMS messages in ways that incite, mobilize, use rude words, use violent terms, or use aggressive terms; you cannot do that. It’s against the law.”
… “This includes sending video clips that break the laws. If we catch you doing it, we will arrest you. The principle is that: you cannot mobilize or incite that cause divisions. If you express your opinion in a normal way, it’s fine, for example, by expressing opinions on TV shows.”