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Democracy Index 2020 ranks Thailand 4th in ASEAN, 73rd in the world

Maya Taylor

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Democracy Index 2020 ranks Thailand 4th in ASEAN, 73rd in the world | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Connor Williams on Unsplash

The Democracy Index 2020 has placed Thailand 4th in ASEAN and 73rd in the world, categorising it as a, “Flawed Democracy.” The index, which is compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit, part of the company which publishes The Economist newspaper, measures the state of democracy in 167 countries around the world. Norway has topped the global ranking, sitting firmly in the “Full Democracy” category, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Canada.

Malaysia comes top of the ASEAN nations and ranked 39th in the world. Other ASEAN nations that followed in the global rankings are the Philippines at 55, Indonesia at 64, Thailand at 73 and Singapore at 74. Cambodia was classed as, “Authoritarian” and came in at 130, with Myanmar at 135, Vietnam at 137, and Laos at 161. The Asian country to rank the highest was Taiwan, coming in at 11 and upgraded from a “Flawed Democracy” to “Full Democracy” status.

Measurement criteria take several factors into consideration, including a country’s electoral process, pluralism, how government functions, civil liberties, and political culture. Thailand scored well on its electoral process and pluralism, but didn’t do so well on the functioning of government. After being upgraded from “Hybrid Regime” to “Flawed Democracy” status in 2019, the country’s overall score has fallen again as a result of political developments last year, including the dissolution of opposition party Future Forward, the treatment meted out to anti-government protesters, and restrictions on local and foreign media.

Most of this year’s downgrades were related to the functioning of government and civil liberty violations, with Covid-19 restrictions cited as a primary factor. Nearly every country has been penalised for curbing freedoms, some more harshly than others. The report says that even in functioning democracies, those opposed to lockdowns had their voices stifled to a certain extent, while more authoritarian governments are accused of using Covid-19 to quell criticism and come down hard on their opponents.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    maxcorrigan

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 9:13 am

    “Thailand scored well on its electoral process and pluralism” Thailand’s electoral process scored well! that sentence alone will bring a knowing satisfied smirk from uncle Tuu i would think!

  2. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Is Thailand DeFi yet or do we have to crash the dolar first?

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Tourism

Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April

Maya Taylor

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Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas M on Unsplash

From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan) have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

Foreign tourists opting for area quarantine will be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They will be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, will be allowed to leave their room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. At the end of the 14-day period, they will once again be tested for the virus and, if negative, allowed to travel around the quarantine area.

In order to avail of the scheme, tourists will still need to fulfil the other requirements for travel, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to travel, and adequate health insurance. Nation Thailand reports that the area quarantine plan will be run by 29 travel agencies, under TAT supervision.

The area quarantine scheme comes as the TAT hails the success of the first “golf quarantine” scheme, which operates in a similar manner. Travellers from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19 can come to Thailand for a golf holiday at approved golf resorts in the Kingdom. Conditions are similar to those attached to area quarantine, with the golfers having to spend the first 3 days in their room, test negative for the virus, and then enjoy free rein of the resort, with a few rounds of golf thrown in.

Thailand’s economy has been decimated by the fallout from the pandemic, in particular the loss of international tourism. The current mandatory 14-day quarantine period is seen as the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to re-ignite the sector. In 2019, international tourism contributed 2 trillion baht out of a total 3.01 trillion baht tourism trade. In the same year, tourism made up 17% of Thailand’s GDP.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The low-cost carrier, Thai Air Asia, is calling on the government to accelerate the re-opening of the country to international tourism. TAA chief executive Santisuk Klongchaiya says Thailand risks losing its status as a regional hub if the country does not re-open soon in order to re-ignite tourism and airlines. According to a Bangkok Post report, he warns that Thailand could lose out to places like Vietnam, should international carriers decide to move direct flights to other countries.

“After facing the pandemic for a year, the key factors that can strengthen Thai tourism are re-opening borders and financial aid such as soft loans to help airlines maintain their business and save jobs. If the plan to welcome foreigners is not ready, Thailand may lose those potential tourists to other competitors that have prepared to attract them with a practical scheme.”

TAA is one of 7 local carriers that have been calling for a 14 billion baht soft loan since March last year. In 2020, the airline reported 16.2 billion baht in total revenue, a year-on-year decrease of 61%, with a 57% drop in passenger numbers. Santisuk says the carrier is planning for similar numbers this year, with 15% of total passengers expected to come from the international market in the last quarter of the year. He is also hopeful that cost-saving initiatives, such as placing some staff on furlough, should help lower operational costs by up to 20%.

In other tourism-related news, the Tourism Authority of Thailand says it will add a further 2 million room nights to the “We Travel Together” domestic tourism stimulus campaign. TAT is also planning another scheme aimed at tour operators, between now and July. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the scheme will be put to cabinet for approval next week. TAT is proposing a “buffet-style” ticket scheme for airlines, aimed at frequent travellers. Passengers receive their subsidy once they use the first flight that is linked to a hotel booking at their destination. Each tour operator can have up to 3,000 customers.

“These additional stimulus measures will boost travel sentiment for the upcoming regional holiday in the North on March 26, as well as the Songkran festival.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

PM orders investigation after Facebook removes fraudulent accounts with alleged military ties

Maya Taylor

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PM orders investigation after Facebook removes fraudulent accounts with alleged military ties | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The Thai PM says he’s ordered an investigation into allegations that the military has been using fraudulent social media accounts to aggravate the ongoing unrest in southern Thailand. Facebook has announced the removal of 185 accounts and groups that it has accused of “information-influencing”, targeting audiences in the south of the country, where Muslim insurgents continue to fight for independence. The PM says he’s tasked the Defence Ministry with looking into the matter and explaining it to the public.

Meanwhile, Thanathip Sawangsaeng, from Internal Security Operations Command (the political arm of the Thai military) says ISOC knows nothing about Facebook removing any accounts. He says the accounts in question have nothing to do with ISOC, whose Facebook page is still up and running.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Thanathip says ISOC has no policy of information-influencing and is merely responsible for helping people affected by the insurgency in the south. He adds that the ISOC page is only used to share information and provide news updates, while listening to public opinion.

Since Facebook’s announcement, a number of people have petitioned the Administrative Court to issue an injunction against the military over the alleged information-influencing practices. Writer Sarinee Achavanuntakul, TV host Winyu Wongsurawat, and Yingcheep Atchanont from the Internet Law Reform Dialogue, together with lawyer Sanya Iadchongdi, are calling on the court to issue an injunction against army boss, Narongphan Jitkaewtae. The group says the military should be ordered to delete a database of people it has blacklisted and to apologise to the people of Thailand for indulging in information-influencing.

Yingcheep says the Facebook probe reveals that Thailand’s military has used information-influencing to attack government critics, including opposition politicians, activists, and academics, and journalists, including Yingcheep himself.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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