Poll: Many Thais disagree with online campaigning ban

Poll: Many Thais disagree with online campaigning ban

Many Thais do not want political parties banned from campaigning in social media ahead of the general election, saying they would feel deprived of information and freedom if that happens, according to an opinion poll.

The survey results were released on Saturday while authorities were considering how to control online political campaigning for fear of distorted information.  

Almost half, or 47.9%, of the respondents to a Bangkok Poll survey, say if social media campaigning is banned, they will feel they are blocked from information while 34.6% feel the country is underdeveloped, with no freedom.

Another 34.3% fear chaos and deepening rifts if campaigns are shifted online while another 22.1% say the country is not ready for social media campaigning.  

According to the survey, most people view social media, led by Facebook, as a good way to communicate with political parties ahead of the election.

Of all social media, Facebook and Facebook Live lead as the platform of choice for people seeking to connect to parties (68%), followed by Line (39.6%), YouTube (36.5%), Twitter (11.9%) and Facebook-owned Instagram (11.5%).

More than half, or 51.4% of all respondents, thought using social media was beneficial due to ease of access to parties’ information (54.8%) and increased participation of the new generation (53.4%).

The remaining 48.6% think the use of social media would do more harm than good because of potentially distorted information (45.2%) and the risk it could turn into a new battleground for mudslinging, deepening social conflicts (33.5%).

 A majority also view net idols or influencers would have the most or considerable impact on the election (63%) while 37% believe the impact will be minimal to negligible.

The survey, using enumeration by telephone, was conducted on 1,201 people from Tuesday to Thursday.

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