NCPO scouts astrologer for media team

NCPO scouts astrologer for media team

A well-known astrologer has been approached to join a team of government spokespeople in a bid to counter anti-coup criticism on social media. 

Deputy government spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Wednesday Khomsan Phanwichartkul would help to monitor social media content relating to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

He is thought to be eyed for the job because of his ties to the regime, not because of his astrological powers.

Maj Gen Sansern said he could not confirm whether Mr Khomsan would be appointed as a deputy government spokesman. Mr Khomsan, also known as Sin Sae Jo, is a former Democrat Party councillor who represented Bang Phlat.

Members of the NCPO have sought advice from him in the past, according to a source, who said Mr Khomsan is close to the council's deputy chief Prawit Wongsuwan.

Maj Gen Sansern insisted that criticism on social media is not a concern for the government because a team is already in place to deal with it. However, someone is needed to directly monitor and counter criticism on social media, he said. This role takes into account the wider, more immediate repercussions which social media has on society.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha plans to travel around the country to follow up on government policies and visit local people to get their feedback, said the spokesman.

Gen Prayut is not worried about anti-coup groups turning up to protest against him during such visits, he said.

Meanwhile, Boonlert Kachayuthdech, a member of the National Reform Council, said a committee on media and information technology reform has agreed media councils should be set up at regional and provincial levels to control the ethics of media organisations.

The media's freedom of expression creates conflict and hatred and councils are needed to ensure this freedom is not abused, he said.

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