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Government ramping up its plans to control Thai media

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Government ramping up its plans to control Thai media | The Thaiger
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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….

https://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30323792

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Transport

State Railway officials sign 5 high-speed rail contracts as part of project linking Thailand and China

Maya Taylor

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State Railway officials sign 5 high-speed rail contracts as part of project linking Thailand and China | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wei Kakurai / Wikimedia

Officials from the State Railway of Thailand have signed 5 high-speed rail contracts worth more than 40 billion baht, in the latest development in the Thailand – China rail connection. It’s understood the contracts cover phase 1 of the railway, from Bangkok to the north-eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat).

It’s hoped that section will carry its first passengers in 2023 and that the line will eventually reach further north, to Nong Khai, and from there, link with a rail connection connecting Laos and China. The high-speed trains will run at speeds up to 250 kilometres an hour.

Nation Thailand reports that the contract signing took place at the Transport Ministry, between SRT governor Nirut Maneephan and the 5 contractors, Nawarat Patanakarn, Thai Engineer Industry, Italian – Thai Development, SPTK Joint Venture, and Civil Engineering. In total, the project will involve over 100 kilometres of railway, with a budget of 40.275 billion baht. The first phase of construction involves 14 contracts, with work under the first one completed and ongoing under the second.

Nirut say the 5 new contractors are expected to take delivery of the land in early 2021, with the 7 remaining contracts being signed next year.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

International travel in 2021 is unpredictable – Tourism Authority of Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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International travel in 2021 is unpredictable – Tourism Authority of Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Aleksei Zaitcev

The future of Thailand’s travel industry is “opaque,” Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says. There are unpredictable factors that come into play when trying to determine how 2021 will pan out, like the availability of a Covid-19 vaccine, the number of coronavirus infections and travel restrictions. The tourism sector might not have what’s considered a “normal” revenue, at least 80% of the pre-pandemic level, until 2022, Yuthasak says.

“We set 2021 as a year of adjustment before seeing a leap in 2022. We forecast Thailand will achieve 2.5 trillion baht in tourism revenue in 2022, or 80-90% of 2019, which recorded 3 trillion baht.”

Yuthasak says he met with an official from the Chinese Embassy and says that large groups of Chinese tourists, who made up around 10 million, or 25%, of foreign arrivals in 2019, will probably not travel to Thailand until a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. It’s unclear how long it will take to commercially produce a vaccine and distribute it across the world.

A rebound in international tourism is expected around the third quarter of 2021 or in 2022, according to the World Tourism Organisation. For Thailand, Yuthasak says the country might see a moderate number of international guests around the second and third quarter of 2021 with more tourists visiting during the summer when the spread of the virus is considered to slow down due to the hot weather.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold

Maya Taylor

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Economic concerns put Bangkok’s ban on 10-wheel trucks on hold | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

Officials in Bangkok have decided to delay a proposed ban on 10 wheel trucks in light of the current economic challenges affecting the transportation and industrial sectors. The proposed ban was aimed at reducing PM2.5 air pollution in the capital and was expected to come into force from December 1 – 28.

Particulates – also known as atmospheric aerosol particles, atmospheric particulate matter, particulate matter (PM), or suspended particulate matter (SPM) – are microscopic particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in the air – Wikpedia

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter (solid and liquid particles) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres that remain suspended in the air for longer. They can be the result of burning fuel and are the primary cause of smog.

Commenting on the decision to delay the ban indefinitely, Deputy National Police chief Damrongsak Kittipraphas says the relevant authorities agreed the timing is not right.

“The police have discussed with related agencies, including the Department of Industrial Promotion, Pollution Control Department, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Public Transport Association, and agreed to postpone the rule indefinitely. The members at the meeting were concerned that the rule could obstruct the operation of the industrial and transportation sectors that are starting to recover from the economic contraction. Therefore, the related agencies promised to study the issue thoroughly, as well as explore other options to prevent and reduce PM2.5 air pollution in Bangkok.”

However, Damrongsak says that from December 1, authorities in the capital will be clamping down on large polluting vehicles, adding that those emitting clouds of black smoke are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution.

“We will send officers to perform random checks at bus terminals and truck operation centres. The inspection will be recorded via video camera to ensure transparency of police work.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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