Govt to probe 'cyber war'
As he battled allegations that the government engaged in information operations (IOs) against its critics, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed to launch a probe to expose the individuals behind the attacks, saying the government had also been targeted.
"In social media, we see a lot of such conduct. I, myself, have been attacked [on social media]. I don't know who did it. We will check again. I confirm that I don't have such a policy," he said as he arrived at parliament for the third day of the censure debate on Wednesday.
In parliament on Tuesday night, former Future Forward Party (FFP) MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn called on the prime minister to take responsibility for approving a budget to fund an Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) cyber war on activists, politicians and academics working to establish peace in the deep South.
He said that, as an MP scrutinising budget allocation, he found documents sent by Isoc to request a budget to hire people to post and comment on social media from 2017-2019. The prime minister is the chairman of Isoc. Mr Wiroj said Isoc's witch-hunt was causing rifts within society.
Gen Prayut, however, said the allegation has damaged the agency's reputation, so a formal investigation would be held to establish the facts as to who were behind these activities online.
"Some political parties are involved, if not actively involved, in IOs themselves. So a probe will be carried out to expose the truth about all these IOs. This isn't a threat against any one in particular.
"When the facts [about the IOs] are clearly known, we will decide what actions will be taken," he said.
One example of an IO attack concerns claims that human rights activists colluded to escalate the insurgency situation in the southernmost region to gain international attention.