Isoc says 'cyber war' only on fake news

Isoc says 'cyber war' only on fake news

The Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) yesterday admitted to carrying out Information Operations (IOs) to counter the spread of fake news, but denied waging a "cyber war" on activists, academics and politicians working to forge peace in the deep South.

Isoc spokesman, Maj Gen Thanathip Sawangsaeng, was speaking in response to allegations made by an opposition lawmaker during the censure debate on Wednesday.

He also dismissed claims the command was given a budget by the government to fund information operations (IOs) in the restive region.

He said the command did spend some of its budget on IOs -- albeit not for waging a "cyber war", but on IOs aimed at countering the spread of fake news.

Maj Gen Thanathip also confirmed the authenticity of the documents cited by the opposition during the debate, saying they were budget expenditure reports from fiscal year 2017-2020.

The reports formed the basis of the opposition's claim that Isoc -- under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha -- funded a blog online, which has been publishing stories critical of activists, academics and politicians working to establish peace in the deep South.

Maj Gen Thanathip said the money cited in the expenditure reports was used to fund public relations activities to correct public misunderstandings about security operations in the southern border areas.

"These information operations were aimed at ensuring justice and promoting human rights with the ultimate goal of restoring peace in the deep South, not for [negative] purposes as alleged in the censure debate," he said.

Gen Thirawat Bunyawat, secretary-general of Isoc, also insisted the blog in question doesn't belong to Isoc Region 4 forward command, as claimed by the opposition.

He also said the blog is being closely monitored by Isoc, as the site has published misleading information about the government's peacekeeping operations in the South.

Gen Prayut has called for an inquiry into the claims.


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