Prayut to 'deal with' meeting minutes writer

Prayut to 'deal with' meeting minutes writer

A man works inside a network room at a company in Bangkok on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
A man works inside a network room at a company in Bangkok on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the cabinet meeting minutes on the single gateway might be incomplete and said he would "deal with" the person who wrote them.

"We need to look into the details because sometimes when meeting minutes are written, not all information is there. I'll deal with the person who wrote them," he told reporters on Thursday.

It is unclear whom he meant to deal with or whether he was serious, but the responsibility of writing cabinet meeting minutes lies with the Secretariat of the Cabinet led by Ampon Kittiampon, who has served in this capacity for five years.

Gen Prayut was responding to the four cabinet meeting minutes netizens dug up to counter authorities' claim that the initiative was only being studied.

The minutes said the PM had ordered the Information and Communication Technology Ministry and related agencies to "set up" the single gateway without delay.    

Gen Prayut explained on Thursday his cabinet ministers had confirmed what had been discussed was to find ways which were legitimate and did not violate human rights to regulate internet use.

"Why don't you [reporters] look at that part. If a method violates human rights or laws, it can't be implemented. It's as simple as that."

He also reasserted nothing had been done about the single gateway and he had not ordered anything. "Stop asking me about this. I'm sick of it. Why keep digging old stories?

"But let me ask you this. Do we have problems today? Students can watch porn and they are our country's future. What should we do?

"So stop complaining. When I try to fix something for a group, another group whines. Where should the government stand?"

Asked whether the government has other plans apart from the single gateway, Gen Prayut said it was being studied and models used in other countries would be considered.

"The problem with us is we like to compare things that foreign countries have with ours. We can't do that because Thais and foreigners think differently.

"We can't take anything for granted. They are much more advanced than we are. We are stuck...stuck with old ideas and understanding. They prevent us from moving forward. Whenever we move ahead, we're brought backwards."

The Prayut government has made clear on numerous occasions it wants to control the flow of information. It cited different reasons, from helping internet service providers cut costs and protecting children from evil websites to protecting the monarchy. Some officials even dangled lower internet fees as a by-product if it is implemented.

But the response from online crowds was overwhelmingly negative, especially after some netizens found at least four cabinet meeting minutes indicated the project was not being studied; it was being expedited.

Some active netizens, especially gamers, staged a virtual sit-in aimed at crippling government websites in protest. Since a cabinet resolution is considered a law, they are not satisfied with the "under study" verbal explanation and demand it be officially scrapped by a new cabinet resolution to that effect.

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