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NCPO restrict social media and advertising in election campaign

The Thaiger & The Nation

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NCPO restrict social media and advertising in election campaign | The Thaiger

“Following the confirmation that Thailand’s much-postponed election would finally be held on 24 March – the first election since the military seized power in a bloodless coup in 2014 – the election commission released strict guidelines on political campaigning.”

The world’s media is starting to report on the shackles put on political parties campaigning for the Thai general election, scheduled for March 24. The Junta-appointed Election Commission has already named the date for the election, just hours after the Royal Decree on a date ‘recommended’ days before by the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-gnam. They had five days to choose a date.

“Social media campaigning will be heavily restricted in the upcoming Thai election, in a move political parties claim will gag freedom of expression and directly affect younger voters.”

The Guardian is reporting that there are going to be many bans and ‘annoyances’ which will cobble newer, and older, political parties to reach out to their constituents in the roll up to the March 24 election.

“The commission particularly targeted social media in the new rules, banning posts that contained anything other than candidates’ names, pictures and biographies, and the party name, logo policies and slogans. The rules were seen to target newer progressive parties that rely heavily on social media to spread their message.”

The article points out that the restrictions are an extension (in the Junta’s view) of the controversial computer crime laws which have been already used to restrict comment and suppress criticism of the military government.

“The new social media campaigning restrictions are an apparent extension of Thailand’s already draconian computer crimes law, where people can be arrested simply for sharing a piece of content deemed critical or damaging by the authorities, and which over the past five years has been used to stifle freedom of expression under the military regime.”

The Guardian reports that parties have also been instructed to not “like” posts that violate any of these rules, spread “false information” or defame other candidates and parties in any way.

And all parties will have to register any social media channels with the election commission or face heavy fines and jail time. A special committee has also been set up by the election commission solely to monitor online campaigning and political discussion in the build-up to the election, leading many to question how free and fair campaigning will be.

Read more of The Guardian’s story HERE.



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Election

His Majesty urges Thais to elect ‘good people’ in today’s election

The Thaiger & The Nation

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His Majesty urges Thais to elect ‘good people’ in today’s election | The Thaiger

His Majesty the King has quoted from a speech delivered by his father, the late King Bhumibol, to urge voters to elect “good people” to rule the country.

The Royal Household Bureau announced at 8.44pm that His Majesty had instructed the Lord Chamberlain to quote from a royal speech delivered by King Bhumibol at the sixth gathering of National Boy Scouts at the Vajiravudh Boy Scout Camp in Chon Buri province on December 11, 1989, as a reminder to the public.

In his address then, King Bhumibol had said: “Please remember one important thing, that there will be both good and bad people in the country’s administration. No one can make all the people good. To keep the country peaceful and in order, though we cannot make all people good we must support goodness.

We must let good people rule and ensure that bad people have no power to cause trouble and turmoil.”

His Majesty urges Thais to elect 'good people' in today's election | News by The Thaiger

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Election

“A clean and fair election”, EC assures international delegates

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“A clean and fair election”, EC assures international delegates | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Election Commission has assured representatives from 11 nations and one international electoral watchdog organisation of a clean and fair election tomorrow.

The EC briefed representatives of election commissions from Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, East Timor, and Vietnam at the Rama Gardens Hotel at 9.45am this morning.

Representatives of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance also attended the session.

EC secretary general Jarungwit Phumma told the representatives that the EC welcomed them to observe tomorrow’s election.

Jarungwit says the EC allowed the representative to monitor the election to show that the polls would be transparent, clean and fair so that the international community would have confidence in the next government.

EC commissioner Wiroj Kowattana assured representatives that the Thai EC was an independent organisation and it was not under anyone’s order to ‘organise’ the polls.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Eight Burmese migrants drown, two still missing in Kanchanaburi road crash

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Eight Burmese migrants drown, two still missing in Kanchanaburi road crash | The Thaiger

Eight Burmese migrants drowned along with two others that are missing, presumed dead, after a van they were travelling in was hit by a 10 wheel truck and both vehicles plunged into a canal in Kanchanaburi’s Tha Muang district in western Thailand today.

Police say the accident happened at 12.10pm at the Sa Setthi Intersection in Tambon Ban Mai.

About 100 rescuers rushed to the scene to try to save the passengers who were trapped inside the van.

The rescuers were able to retrieve eight bodies, one of them a pregnant woman. Four were rescued and were sent to a nearby hospital.

Officials say two of the group are still missing.

The van was transporting the migrants back to Myanmar.

SOURCE: The Nation

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