'War rooms' to target censure hoax

'War rooms' to target censure hoax

Govt ministers set up bases outside House

A number of "war rooms" will be set up to help fight disinformation as the censure debate against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and five of his ministers edges closer, according to the government.

Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, who is also the secretary-general of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), will lead one team from a war room outside of parliament, which is tasked with preparing public information about the censure targets, according to Thipanan Sirichana, deputy spokeswoman of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

In addition to Gen Prayut, his deputies Prawit Wongsuwon and Wissanu Krea-ngam, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai as well as Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, are also targeted in the no-confidence motion.

A debate is scheduled for Feb 24-26, with a vote on the motion set to take place on Feb 27.

Ms Thipanan said the war room will gather facts to counter any disinformation spread during the debate.

"The team will carry out fact checks and release correct information to people when necessary," she said.

She insisted that it falls within coalition parties' rights to disseminate accurate information to people while holding the opposition accountable for its allegations.

Also on Monday, Capt Thamanat Prompow opened his own war room in the northern province of Phayao, a source in the Agriculture Ministry said.

The war room will be up and running in Phayao to prepare civil and criminal charges against opposition debaters who raise false and damaging allegations against state agencies, the government or Capt Thamanat himself, the source said.

The source also said Capt Thamanat also ordered war rooms to be set up in the House of Representatives and at agencies he supervises -- including the Department of Land Development, the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, the Agricultural Land Reform Office and the Marketing Organisation for Farmers -- to supply the deputy minister with information for the debate.

Pairat Pimsarn, Capt Thamanat's lead attorney, said his legal team will be filing police complaints in Phayao against opposition MPs who "fail to debate within the bounds of the law" for damaging the government's reputation.

Meanwhile, Deputy Democrat Party leader Ong-art Klampaiboon said even though Democrat Party ministers are not among the censure targets, the party needs to be fully prepared in case they are implicated.

The party's MPs are meeting today to go over the preparations for the motion, and all members must attend, Mr Ong-art said.


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