Monday 21 July 2014

Official Statement: "Free Thai Movement Condemns Media Control By Thailand's Junta"

I've just received the following statement from Jakrapob Penkair, the Executive Secretary of the Organisation of Thailand's Free Thai for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD) on the recent moves by Thailand's military junta to suppress freedom of speech. Please share and distribute.

"FT-HD Condemns Media Control By Thailand's Junta

Since May 2014 when Thailand’s military junta government imposed its laughably named “National Council for Peace and Order” (NCPO) on the Thai population, it has continuously released poll after poll, each with more glowing results for the military than the last.

Without any lawful or legal mandate whatsoever to back up its somewhat fragile existence, the NCPO relies on these polls in its attempts to shore up sentiment in its favor. Accordingly, the polls report 80%, 90% - will they soon reach 110%? - support for the military junta. But, of course, who would disagree?

Only last week the NCPO announced the Orwellian “Order 97/2557”, a decree that now forbids the Thai media from distributing any comments that may cause “conflict” and “confusion”. Those media outlets who don’t follow Order 97/2557 will, according to the announcement, be “immediately suspended”, with prosecutions in a military court to follow.  

It should be very obvious that Order 97/2557 is designed for one purpose only - to prevent any criticism whatsoever of the NCPO, the military and the backers of the illegal junta government. 

Such a draconian state of affairs is not normal, not redolent with the happiness the NCPO claim they are “bringing” to the Thai people and not the action of a government that believes it has the backing of 90% of the population. As we at FT-HD have previously warned the NCPO’s only aim is to push Thailand further and further away from democracy.

Unfortunately, one of the profound effects of Order 97/2557 is that the ordinary views of ordinary Thais will be pushed further underground, existing only in a state of fear, an impossible situation for any sane and rational population to endure. 

FT-HD therefore ask that the Thai and international media community continue with their support for ordinary Thais and condemn, outright, Order 97/2557. We can only defend our freedoms collectively and the most basic right to criticise the increasing repression of the NCPO must not be given up lightly."

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