Police move to silence news, Facebook platforms

Police move to silence news, Facebook platforms

Critic: Heading for 'complete dictatorship'

Media crew covering the protest against the government outside Government House on Oct 14 are knocked to the ground during a scuffle. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Media crew covering the protest against the government outside Government House on Oct 14 are knocked to the ground during a scuffle. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Police want to shut down four media outlets and a Facebook page run by protesters, on grounds their content constitutes a threat to national security.

National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk on Friday signed an order under the emergency decree requesting the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to ban Voice TV, Prachathai.com website, The Reporters and The Standard, as well as the Free Youth movement Facebook page.

The Reporters is Facebook-based. The Standard is web-based, but has a Facebook page. Voice TV also has a Facebook page.

Pol Gen Suwat said the four news outlets and the protest leaders' Facebook page published content harmful to national security.

The emergency decree, which has been enforced since Thursday, allows authorities to ban media and other information deemed threatening to national security.

The move comes as rallies against the government have spread across the country, especially after rally leaders were arrested as police fired water cannon with coloured dye to disperse a peaceful protest at Pathumwan intersection on Friday.

The Free Youth movement and its ally, the United Front for Thammasat and Demonstration, has already rached, asking followers on Sunday to shift from their Facebook pages to Telegram, a messaging app, after rumours they would be targeted by authorities.

Thapanee Eadsrichai, a founder of The Reporters, posted a Facebook message saying the outlet continued to operate on Monday.

Former finance minister and government critic Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala also slammed the police move on his Facebook account, saying the country was moving backwards to "complete dictatorship".

He wondered whether the Facebook accounts of other individuals would be the next targets.

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