[Thailand] Nation troops to polls as media remain hobbled by repressive laws

In the days leading to Thailand’s first general election after five years of junta’s rule, Thai media have been under pressure from the public to help ensure a free and fair election while having to contend with by newly enforced laws and regulations.

Fearful of breaching the new laws enforced by the military regime, the Thai media have become less intrepid in their reporting, while the electorate is left with inadequate information that they need to make an informed choice.

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Representatives of seven major parties in the Thai general elections participate at the Thai PBS Debate on 15 March 2019.

[Thailand] From Hope to Ballot: The Advance Vote

In a remarkable expression of their faith in democracy, eighty-seven percent of Thai voters registered for advance voting turned out to vote. Advance Voting Day remained peaceful and orderly but punctuated by instances of mismanagement, inconsistencies in the application of electoral rules by polling staff, and complaints of inadequate voter education and information in particular to voters and political parties. While the Advance Voting Day establishes the preparedness of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT), it has provided the Commission an opportunity to immediately take measures to rectify the management issues reported by election stakeholders.

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Voice TV chief executive officer Makin Petplai welcomes the court decision for Voice TV to continue broadcast

[Thailand] Court rules in favor of Voice TV

The Central Administrative Court of Thailand has granted Voice TV’s petition to junk the 15-day suspension order imposed on it by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on 12 February 2019.

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[Thailand] SEAPA stands behind Voice TV; urges court to uphold international norms on press freedom and free expression

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) stands solidly behind, and is unwavering in its support for, Voice TV in the latter’s effort to assert its right to press freedom, particularly in the midst of the difficult situation where it finds itself anew, having been slapped with another suspension order.

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Court order lifts temporary ban against Voice TV

[Thailand] SEAPA lauds court’s decision lifting Voice TV ban; says it ‘gives grounds for hope’

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) welcomes the decision of the Thai court allowing Voice TV to resume its broadcast operations after initially being suspended for 15 days.

The Central Administrative Court handed down the decision on Friday, 15 February 2019, effectively lifting the temporary ban imposed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on the digital TV broadcaster on 12 February 2019.

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Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

[Thailand] Suspending Voice TV: ‘An attack on media freedom’ —Pakistan Press Foundation

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns this step of National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and termed it an attack on media freedom. PPF also urge the authorities and media regulator to lift the order of suspending broadcasts of Voice TV.

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Photo from the Facebook of Sirote Klampaiboon, Voice TV news host

[Thailand] Voice TV shutdown yet another assault on press freedom —SEAPA

Such perceived risk is unwarranted and could only be construed as yet another unmistakable curtailment of press freedom by the ruling junta. At a time when Thailand is on the cusp of a new election that has been put off countless times, much to the frustration of a nation that has grown weary of military rule, the NBTC’s order could not have sent off a stronger signal. That is, the state will not countenance media outfits, who, in asserting their fundamental right to inform and engage the public in meaningful discussions of important issues, dare cross the former’s path. 

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[Vietnam] Radio Free Asia blogger goes missing after seeking refugee status in Thailand

Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat has been missing since 26 January 2019, and no one knows his whereabouts. Just three days ago, on 5 February 2019, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that they have lost contact with Nhat and are “extremely concerned” about his safety and well-being.  

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(L-R) Orapin Yingyongpathana, The Momentum; Chonthicha Jangrew, Democracy Restoration Group; Tanawat  Wongchai, Student Union of Thailand; Prasong Lertratanawisute, ISRA News Agency; Kulachada Chaipipat, formerly of SEAPA

[Thailand] In run-up to next election, media must step up its game — says forum

The event, called “A Public Forum on Election and Media Coverage in Thailand: Challenges and Opportunities for Broadening Public Discourse,” gathered 60 representatives from news organizations, journalists’ groups, and civil society to discuss the role of the media during elections, and the state of its coverage of political issues.

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(L-R) Min Pov, VOD; Norman Goh, Malaysiakini; Karel Jiaan Antonio, ANFREL; Pravit Rojanaphruk, Khaosod English.

[Thailand] Media vital in shaping public discourse during election, says monitoring group

Karel Jiaan Antonio, program officer for campaign and advocacy of the Asian Network for Free Election (ANFREL), said that as election monitors, they recognize the important role of the media during elections in shaping public discourse.

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[Thailand] Media-public forum shines a light on bleak realities of election reporting

Now that the long-awaited national election in Thailand is a certainty, how does the local media fare in the public eye in terms of its coverage of important issues that are relevant to the highly anticipated political exercise?

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Representatives of seven political parties seeking to contest the much-anticipated poll this year hold a copy of the TJA open letter appealing for their support of the media organization's call for the immediate repeal of the four NCPO special orders restricting media freedom in Thailand.

[Thailand] An earnest plea for media freedom ahead of the national vote

Amid continuing restrictions to the media in Thailand, there is one question that political parties contesting the anticipated general election, initially scheduled for February 24, must confront – what do they plan to do about the ongoing restrictions on the media imposed by the ruling military junta, or the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)?

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[Thailand] Gov’t ban on planned forum on scathing UN report on Myanmar an overreaction — FCCT

The professional membership of the FCCT believe the Thai authorities have overreacted. This incident has caused unnecessary further harm to the country’s already dented reputation for media freedom — Thailand was once one of the freest countries in Southeast Asia with a vibrant press. For the record, this is the sixth programme cancelled at the FCCT since a coup was staged in 2014 and the country became subject to military rule.

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