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Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: YouTube: VoiceTV
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The Criminal Court has agreed to suspend the Thai media company Voice TV for allegedly violating the State of Emergency orders which prohibit media content “considered to be a threat to national security”.

Talk about the Voice TV shut down has been circulating on social media. It’s not the first time the network has come to the attention of the NCPO, in the past, and the current government. Reuters reporters confirmed the claims with digital ministry spokesperson Putchapong Nodthaisong who said “Voice TV will be suspended”. The order applies to all of the company’s online platforms, including social media accounts.

The media company also allegedly violated Thailand’s Computer Crime Act by spreading “false information,” the spokesperson says.

The Chief Executive Officer of Voice TV, Mekkin Phetchapa, posted a statement on the company’s Facebook page saying the court ordered to close all of the platforms associated with the media company, but Voice TV has not received any documents yet.

“Voice TV confirms that what we are holding on to as a professional duty. Media has no distortion, misleading or destroying public security and peace.”

Mekkin says that for the past 11 years, Voice TV has been openly transparent and responsible for the facts from all parties.

“Let power and responsibility be righteous.”

The State of Emergency banning public gatherings of more than 5 people was imposed in the early hours of last Thursday morning, leading up to the breaking up a pro-democracy protest ‘camp’ outside the Government House in Bangkok. The order also bans news or online messaging that “could harm national security.”

“It is extremely necessary to introduce an urgent measure to end this situation effectively and promptly to maintain peace and order.”

“Publication of news, other media, and electronic information that contains messages that could create fear or intentionally distort information, creating misunderstanding that will affect national security or peace and order.”

Since the decree was announced, police have threatened a crack down on local media outlets covering the pro-democracy protests as well as an activist Facebook group saying they pose a “threat to national security.”

A document, signed by National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk, was leaked and circulated on social media. It requested the Telecommunications Commission and Digital Economy and Society Ministry to ban The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page. There have been no reports about the other media outlets being suspended at this stage.

SOURCE: Reuters| Facebook: Voice TV

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    They are not a threat to national security, they are a threat to the government security of office.

  2. Avatar

    Political Observer

    October 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Soon General Prayut will be in exile, charged with conspiracy to overthrow a democratically elected government.

    • Avatar

      Tony Grace

      October 20, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      By suspending a news channel they are playing the same old game of any dictatorship its like saying you can turn on the lights but only if you use our bulbs

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Politics

Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon

Maya Taylor

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Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Security is expected to be extremely tight at Bangkok’s Constitutional Court today, as the ruling in the matter of the PM’s residence is delivered. Prayut Chan-o-cha is accused of violating army rules by occupying a military residence rent-free, despite having retired from the army in 2014. Critics say his tenancy represents a conflict of interest. Should the court agree with them, it will spell the end of his premiership, something pro-democracy protesters have been calling for since July.

Thai PBS World reports that the court has issued a statement to confirm that only approved parties will be allowed in the courtroom, including the PM, the complainant, and relevant lawyers and officials. The case was brought earlier this year, following a request from the leader of the Pheu Thai opposition party, Sompong Amornwiwat. The court has confirmed the verdict will be broadcast on its You Tube channel from around 3pm, meaning the public can watch it live.

Bangkok authorities are apprehensive about potential unrest should some parties disagree with the court’s findings. Piya Tavichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau has confirmed that hundreds of police officers will be on duty, in and around the court buildings, with the front entrance already sealed off. A planned rally by the anti-government protest group, Ratsadon, has now been switched to the Lad Phrao Intersection, in the Chatuchak district of the capital.

We’ll all know the decision around 3pm this afternoon.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Protests

Protesters switch today’s rally venue, will now take place at Lad Phrao intersection

Maya Taylor

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Protesters switch today’s rally venue, will now take place at Lad Phrao intersection | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newnaratif.com

A planned protest outside the Constitutional Court in Bangkok this afternoon will now take place at the Lad Phrao Intersection, in the Chatuchak district. The Ratsadon (People’s Party) group have announced the change on the Facebook page of fellow activists, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration. The rally is expected to kick off at 4pm.

It was originally due to take place at the Constitutional Court, to coincide with the court delivering its verdict on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s place of residence. The PM has come under fire from opposition quarters for occupying a military residence, despite having retired from the army in 2014. Critics say this is a violation of army rules, while the army argues that the arrangement is for security reasons.

The PM and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan were both excused from an order issued by former army chief Apirat Kongsompong earlier this year, that gave all retired military personnel until the end of February to vacate state-owned residences.

Should the court’s verdict go against the PM this afternoon, it will mean the end of his premiership and his current cabinet. Anti-government protesters who have been campaigning for his resignation since July are calling on activists to assemble at the Lad Phrao intersection this afternoon for what they hope will be a significant event.

“If Prayut is found guilty in this case, he could be forced to step down as the court has deemed his action unconstitutional, rendering him unfit to be prime minister. Please come out at Ha Yaek Lad Phrao from 4pm to witness this historical moment together.”

But the Constitutional Court has a demonstrated history of siding heavily with the incumbent government and the current Thai PM. So a ruling against the PM in this case would be highly unexpected and against the grain of their past decisions.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected

Maya Taylor

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Protest planned for courthouse tomorrow as verdict on PM’s residence expected | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The Ratsadon (People’s Party) movement is planning a protest outside the Constitutional Court tomorrow as a verdict is handed down in relation to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s occupancy of a military residence, despite his retirement from the army. The ruling is expected at 3.00pm tomorrow and comes as a result of a petition lodged by opposition MPs in March, in which the PM was accused of a conflict of interest as a result of his residence.

Members of the Pheu Thai Party are leading the charge, claiming the PM should have moved out of the accommodation at the time of his retirement in 2014. For his part, the PM says he’ll move out if the court rules against him, insisting his occupancy of the military residence is not an abuse of power. According to a report in the Bangkok Post today, the military says the property has been re-classified as a “visitor’s house” and says it was provided to the PM for security reasons.

Wirat Ratana­sate from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party says members have not yet discussed a list of potential replacement candidates, should the court’s ruling go against the PM. Were that to happen, it would mean the end of his term as leader and the end of his current cabinet. Wirat remains optimistic however, that the court will find in the PM’s favour.

“We may have to discuss the matter with coalition parties. Still, let’s wait for the court’s ruling. Don’t jump to any conclusion that there will be a political accident. The outcome may turn out to be good.”

Meanwhile, authorities in Bangkok say they’re ready to handle tomorrow’s planned protest outside the courthouse. Pakkapong Pongpetra from the Metropolitan Police Bureau says officers have devised a number of security measures to maintain order during the rally and ensure events inside the courtroom can proceed as normal.

His statement comes as Ramate Rattanachaweng from the Democrat Party issues a warning to anti-government protesters that pressurising the court could lead to charges of contempt of court. He is calling on them to cancel tomorrow’s gathering.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition say they’re confident the court will rule against the PM, with the legal chief of the Pheu Thai Party, Chusak Sirinil, saying the designation of “visitor’s house” does not indicate a permanent residence.

“A visitor’s house is for temporary stays of 7 to 10 days, not forever.”

Prasert Chantararuangthong, also from Pheu Thai, dismisses the army’s explanation that the PM needs to live in a military residence for security reasons, pointing out that the army is not responsible for prime ministerial security. Meanwhile, fellow Pheu Thai MP, Arunee Kasayanont, suggests the PM should pay attention to what the people are demanding and resign immediately, regardless of the verdict.

“General Prayut can make a graceful exit by resigning before December 2 and thus respond to the demand of demonstrators.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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