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Prayut takes swipe at media in six-month progress report

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Prayut takes swipe at media in six-month progress report | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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Prayut takes swipe at media in six-month progress report
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: In his announcement yesterday on the government’s progress over the past six months, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed that his administration had stuck – so far – to the road map it set from the very beginning. However, he said, the ability to stay within the set time frame would depend largely on security and peace and order within society.

He delivered the speech from Government House. In it, PM Prayut was also quick to point out that the one key factor that can significantly contribute to peace is the media, whom he partly blames for creating “false political discourse”.

Instead, he said, the media should be more constructive in presenting news. “The media should ask forward-looking questions. We need to help each other create understanding and solve problems,” he said.

The government has been widely criticized at home and abroad for its heavy handling of media censorship, yet PM Prayut continues to stress the media’s role in fostering peace and shaping the country’s future.

“There’s no country in this world that can have peace with unlimited freedom, meaning freedom should go hand in hand with duty, respect of rights and mutual respect among individuals,” he said.

He went on to say that there was no government that had taken power the way he did and no leader who does what he does. “For me the power is to create accountability and fair and effective government,” he said.

While listing his government’s progress, the premier touched on a wide range of topics, including the economy, democracy, Article 44 and the justice system.

PM Prayut said he had been reluctant to enforce strict laws on political dissents, but said it was necessary for people to respect and obey the law. If the law was ignored, then there was no option but to increase the penalties, he said, adding, “if people do not respect the law, the country cannot survive”.

He also called on the public to be patient with his administration and overlook some democratic values in exchange for peace, order and long-term national reform.

“People like coming out and delivering lectures about democracy. Why do it now? Why didn’t they do it back when we still had elections?” he asked.

The premier also implied that it was too late for people to push for fully fledged democratic principles and that society should focus on reconciliation and reform instead.

PM Prayut also defended the use of Article 44, which was put in place after martial law was lifted and gives the prime minister full power over the judicial, legislative and executive branches of the administration.

“Article 44 is necessary to solve some problems, because if we can’t amend a law in time, there should be alternative measures to tackle problems under these special circumstances. People should just get on with their lives. If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear,” he said

On foreign policy, PM Prayut pointed out that Thailand had established a better understanding with the international community, especially its western allies.

“There’s nothing to be worried about with our foreign ties. At the moment, they have taken note of our explanation and understand the situation. They have no intentions to put pressure on us. I’ve talked to Russia and China, and they have invited me over for a visit.

“Europe and the US are key traders. We need to engage and negotiate with these strategic partners in order to facilitate the distribution of our products,” he said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, speaking on behalf of Foreign Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, said Thailand had successfully established better understanding with foreign countries.

He referred to achievements under the five main aspects of Thailand’s foreign policy: establishing a better understanding and boosting ties with international partners; linking internal policies with foreign policy; creating integrated, coordinated cooperation among state agencies at home and abroad or “Team Thailand”; contributing to Thai people’s well-being both at home and overseas; contributing to national human-resource development and competitiveness.

“Our foreign policy is omni-directional, we don’t want to go only in one direction,” Don said, adding that Thailand was open to all countries that want to engage with it.

On the same subject, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wanname-thee said the government had tried to build international confidence by sticking to its road map.

“[The government] practices and implements what it says,” Sek said, adding that the administration had never veered from the objectives set by the National Council for Peace and Order last year. This plan was designed with the objective of reforming the country in three steps: reconciliation; drafting and implementing a new constitution and organizing an election.

“So far, the government has always followed its plan as per the road map,” Sek said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Changes to quarantine, ‘adult content’ ban continues | March 5

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Thailand News Today | Changes to quarantine, ‘adult content’ ban continues | March 5 | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Public Health Minister is chairing a meeting next Monday, where a vaccine passport scheme and potential travel bubbles is on the agenda. Anutin says those who’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be issued with a book to confirm their vaccination. It’s hoped this will make international travel easier, as well as boosting the public’s confidence and helping life return to some kind of normality.

In related news…. 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 confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui, have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

P**nhub and other adult websites are remaining blocked in Thailand as they apparently “conflict with good morals for upstanding citizens”. The Thai Government says the websites encourage “poor moral standpoints and can affect youth in a negative manner”.

The Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society and current Minister of Culture says that the decision that was made by the previous office holder will be upheld. The decision also includes keeping other popular adult websites blocked as the Thai Government has labelled them to be “obscene”. But the move to ban adult content has brought protests with those disagreeing saying such sites are a part of freedom of expression.

A houseowner in the central province of Ang Thong, central Thailand, has discovered 3 skeletons on his land that are thought to be over 3,000 years old. 54 year old Somkiat Briboon says this most recent discovery isn’t the first, as the first lot of bones was found last year after preparing his 17 rai plot of land to be rented out for sugarcane farming.

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 deep 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.

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Thailand

Pro-democracy group to reach outskirts of Bangkok after almost 250 kilometre walk

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Pro-democracy group to reach outskirts of Bangkok after almost 250 kilometre walk | The Thaiger

A group of pro-democracy protestors, on an almost 250 kilometre walk, are expected to reach the outskirts of Bangkok today. The group has been walking for 17 days, starting from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district to protest the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail.

The demonstrators imprisoned include 4 protest leaders from Ratsadon named Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Anon Nampa, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Patiwat “Morlum Bank” Saraiyeam. The 247.5-kilometre march, named “Walk Through the Sky: Bring Back the People’s Power,” started on February 16. Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, from the student-led protest group Ratsadon, is leading the walking protesters and says they have been held in jail without bail since February 9.

The 4 are facing charges under Article 112, which prohibits lese-majeste, or the defaming of the Thai Royal Monarchy. Lese-majeste carries a jail sentence of 3 to 15 years. They are also facing charges of sedition under Article 116 of the Criminal Code, which carries a jail term of 7 years, as they are accused of organising pro-democracy rallies.

“The ignition and the fuel for the walk is simple. They have started to incarcerate our friends while denying their bail requests, which made it impossible for us to do nothing.”

The court has denied the demonstrators bail requests 4 times now, citing that their release would create more unrest.

Pai said he emphathises with the detained protestors as he has been imprisoned for lese-majeste before. He says he spent 2 years and 6 months in prison for sharing a BBC Thai’s biography of the monarch on Facebook.

“When I was in jail, there were people outside who were protesting for my release so now that my friends are in jail by an unfair law while being denied their right to political expression, I must come out and do something.”

“A walk is a type of a fight against injustice and we choose to fight this way in order to peacefully spread the words about police brutality, the uses of various laws to silence dissidents, the plights of the poor and the mismanagement of the government’s covid-relief measures and natural resources.”

The walk-in protest group is expected to reach Zeer Rangsit in Pathumthani around 5:30 pm today and will camp out near the department store before marching at the Bang Khen intersection tomorrow. On Sunday, the march is expected to end at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update

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79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | The Thaiger

Today, the Thai government is reporting 79 new cases of Covid-19, with 65 locally-transmitted, and 14 imported, raising the total to 26,241 since the pandemic began. 1 new death has been reported, raising the total amount of deaths to 85. The new infections, which are now in the double-digits, shows Thailand’s Covid situation as improving according to the assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Panprapa Yongtrakul.

“The two-digit level of new cases found at hospitals and communities shows that the local Covid-19 situation is under control.”

The CCSA reports that 43 of the 65 local infections were found in communities with 22 of the 65 found in hospitals across 4 provinces.

Samut Sakhon province, the source of the second wave of Covid in the Kingdom, reported 77% of the new cases. Of the 50 cases found in the province, 38 were found in communities and 12 were found at hospitals.

Pathum Thani reported 8 new cases, with 3 being found at hospitals, and 5 in the community. Bangkok reported 6 new cases at hospitals and Chon Buri reported 1 infection found at a hospital. 12 of the 14 imported infections were quarantined arrivals from Russia, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Slovenia, South Africa, Germany, Libya and Italy.

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | News by The Thaiger

The other 2 imported cases were that of Thai women, who ellegedly returned from Myanmar illegally through a natural border crossing in Tak province, despite the government closing off natural border crossings after the February coup by the military in Myanmar.

Covid-19 cases rose worldwide by 446,747 over the past 24 hours to 116.21 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 9,955 to 2.58 million. The US still has the most cases at 29.53 million, rising by 68,321 over the past 24 hours, and the most deaths at 533,636, rising by 1,993 over the last 24 hours.

In light of the recent downturn in reported cases, Samut Sakhon has recently reopened 22 of its wet markets. However, the seafood market where the second wave of the Covid outbreak began, is not one of them, and it is not yet known when that might reopen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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