The presence of military officers in TV stations and the action of the Thai information minister in summoning news media executives yesterday and telling them to censor the news were “completely unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said today.
“We support the demands of the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the Thai Reporters Association for the restoration of press freedom,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Democratic elections will not be able to take place without their first being a free debate relayed by the news media.”
The information minister yesterday told news media executives to cooperate in maintaining order and to “restrict, control, stop or destroy information” that could “affect the constitutional monarchy.”
The message was clear, but the army clearly still lacks confidence in its own newly-acquired power. For this reason it announced on television that, in order to maintain law and order, meetings of political parties and the organisation of other political activities were banned. Another sign of its lack of confidence was the deployment of soldiers outside TV stations while officers carefully scrutinised all reports dealing with the military coup.