Journalists: Regime muzzles press freedom

Journalists: Regime muzzles press freedom

The media profession remains overshadowed by the military regime which prevents outlets from freely criticising and examining the government, the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) says.

Apart from facing economic pressure as a result of digital disruption, this year was yet another in which the media profession has been strictly regulated by the government since the 2014 coup, it said.

Under National Council for Peace and Order directives issued in 2014, the media is banned from producing content which criticise "with the intention to discredit the NCPO".

The orders, which are regarded as a violation of media freedom of expression, have hindered the media and the public from examining figures in the government, which protects them from the scrutiny which the government urges on everyone else.

They also prompt media personnel to be more vigilant on producing their content which could jeopardise their own safety, resulting in censorship of information.

In addition to media content, political activities are also regulated by the government which bans public gatherings of more than five people. Organisers of events, including forums, are required to give advance notification to police who supervise areas where events will be held.

Since 2014, the regime has ordered the cancellation of several seminars and activities which, in its view, deal with political issues.

This year, Lumpini police instructed the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand to scrap a seminar on the 1932 Siamese Revolution memorial plaque that was to be held on May 3. It argued the seminar could have stirred up public unrest.

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