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Government ramping up its plans to control Thai media



The military government’s so-called “agreement of truth” will likely include a mechanism to oversee media in the name of ensuring the press “act responsibly to society” by following an imposed code of conduct and professional morality.

The agreement will likely require approval from major political parties before being put into practice. But the same mechanism will also help protect media from interference and threats, ensuring them freedom of the press, Maj-General Kongcheep Tantravanich said on Monday. Kongcheep, a spokesperson to the junta government’s committee on reconciliation building, said that the tool is necessary because media “have been manipulated to provide political discourses and biased information” in ways that fracture society.

While Kongcheep did not elaborate details regarding the control mechanism, the junta-appointed, now-defunct National Steering Reform Assembly earlier proposed a plan that will allow state authorities to take part in media affairs.

Their proposed media regulation draft bill called for creation of a “national media council” that would include two government representatives to oversee the media landscape.

Although much opposed by journalists and media professionals, the draft was eventually forwarded to the Cabinet, who will decide on what points of the NRSA’s draft they agree with before forwarding it to the National Legislative Assembly to pass into law.

Kongcheep’s mechanism could be the junta’s latest step to create a body to regulate media with endorsements from political parties and figures.

Since the beginning of this year, the junta government has been drafting an agreement, along with seeking input from political players. The input is never detailed for the public.

Political actors are expected to approve the agreement, which also covers other social and economic issues, as “another step to achieve reconciliation”. How closely they will be bound to the final agreement is not yet clear.

PHOTO of Maj-General Kongcheep Tantravanich

Original story here….


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