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Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20

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Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests

The Criminal Court has agreed to suspend the Thai media company Voice TV for allegedly violating the State of Emergency orders which prohibit media content “considered to be a threat to national security”.

Talk about the Voice TV shut down has been circulating for a few days, along with threats to close down other media voices. It’s not the first time Voice TV has come to the attention of the NCPO, in the past, and the current government.

The digital ministry spokesperson said this morning that “Voice TV will be suspended”. The order applies to all of the company’s online platforms, including social media accounts.

They’ve also instructed the closure of The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page. But, for now, those media platforms still seem to be online.

House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session

The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament has confirmed that there is cross-party agreement for an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened in the wake of the ongoing political unrest.

Chuan Leekpai has notified PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of the agreement to hold the special session in a bid to seek a political resolution to the conflict.

In his letter to the PM, Chuan calls on the cabinet to back the declaration of a special session. He proposes an initial general debate so MPs and senators can express their opinions and work towards a solution to the current impasse. The PM has already voiced his support for an extraordinary session of parliament.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition figures are calling for the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok to be lifted, declaring its implementation illegal and unnecessary.

Jailed Thai activists, protest leaders, pro-democracy doctor, released on bail

Thailand’s Appeal Court has granted bail to a number of anti-government protesters and protest leaders, on condition there is no repeat of the offences they’re accused of. Sort of doubt that’s going to stick.

They must also report to the court every 2 weeks. Protesters have been charged with sedition, violating the Covid-19 emergency decree by holding an illegal gathering, using an amplifier without authority to do so, and breaking the Computer Crimes Act.

Yesterday’s three “pop up” protests were held outside of central Bangkok and again surprised police. The protest gatherings all attracted up to 2,000 people each and were held, and then dispersed, peacefully, without police intervention.

Police threaten jail time for anyone taking selfies at protests

The State of Emergency recently imposed on Bangkok amid escalating political unrest carries some sweeping powers, some of them targeting the younger, connected mobile generation.

Police are warning that anyone taking a selfie at anti-government protests is risking 2 years in jail and a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

The emergency decree is being invoked in everything, from the arrests of protesters and their leaders, to the threat of restrictions being slapped on media outlets whose reporting is deemed unfavourable.

41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban

Just 41 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Bangkok today under the special tourist visa. A small, yet major step forward after a 7 month ban on international tourists which was put in place in late-March.

The visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. But the tourists departing from Shanghai, China and arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5pm, allegedly, will only be in Thailand for 30 days, and that includes their 14 day quarantine.

The flight arriving today was first going to have 120 to 150 tourists, but now it’s down to just 41. We’ll soon know if they actually arrived. Never before has the arrival of so few tourists kicked up such interest.

Pickup truck crashes into elephant as herd runs across Chon Buri road

A herd of wild elephants running across a road in Chon Buri caused a driver to crash into one of the elephants, damaging his Isuzu pickup truck and injuring the passenger.

The man says he was heading to the province’s Ban Ang Kraden district when a group of about 20 elephants ran out of the forest and cut in front of his truck. He says he couldn’t stop in time and crashed into one of the elephants.

The injured animal didn’t stop and continued to run across the road, following the rest of the herd into the forest. Local officials are tracking the elephant’s footprints to find the injured elephant and provide medical treatment. The 20 year old passenger was rushed to hospital and is in a satisfactory condition.

 

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1 Comment

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  1. Avatar

    Henry

    Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I am a listener in the US who spends 2-3 months annually in Thailand and SE Asia.

    Kudos for your decision to cover, but not opine on the current unrest. I fear, however, that by merely covering the demonstrations you will come to the attention of the government that appears to not favor peaceful protest or the reporting of same. I hope the unrest and the government response does not devolve to the point of violence and the response that we have seen in the US and our criminal government’s response to recent protests. Good luck to you and all of Thailand and the Thai people.

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