The mainstream media has long been supportive of anti-democrats and was generally pleased about the military coups in both 2006 and 2014.
This makes it telling when the military junta gets jittery and cracks down on a mostly supportive media. Yes, The Dictator often gets his Boss underpants in a twist over reasonable media questions that would not challenge anyone with the mental capacity of a gnat or higher, but times are changing.
Related to the seemingly ridiculous case of a woman accused of sedition over a red bowl featuring Thaksin Shinawatra, the junta first decided to declare such bowls illegal. That is both ludicrous and such a bizarre declaration would be illegal in any sane society. That is clearly and emphatically not Thailand under the military dictatorship.
The military has “summoned journalists in the northern province of Chiang Mai for a discussion over reporting news about a red bowl inscribed with Thai new year greetings from former Prime Minister Thaksin …”.
The reporters call in were from Thailand’s largest circulation newspaper, Thai rath. Its editorial team in Chiang Mai were ordered to report to the Kawila Military Base for “a discussion.”
Military thug Major-General Koson Prathumchat, commander of the murderous Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) “asked the two journalists about a news article about the red bowl…”. Perhaps the thug can’t read.
It seems the General needed to know where the reporters “got the picture of the red bowl…”. Seriously. The reporters explained to this knuckle dragger “that it was from a viral social media campaign to save water for the upcoming Songkran Festival.” It has also been reproduced on about a million blogs, web sites and other outlets.
Confirming that the thug can’t read beyond the level of a trained goat, the reporters “added that the main content of the news article with the red bowl picture was about such campaign.”
The military thug declared that “they should not report on such news again.”
We are being rather too frivolous in our recounting of this event, for as silly and brainless as it is, it reflects several things: (a) the junta’s fear of Thaksin; (b) its grim and dangerous determination to make Thailand a military state lacking in freedoms; and (c) the mental incapacity of the junta for any thought that is not constrained by hierarchical bootlicking.
General Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy dictator-in-chief and portly thug, has threatened to send Bangkok Post journalist Wassana Nanuam to a re-education camp.
Wassana is known to be close to the military and is seldom very critical. Indeed, her beat requires close relations with the top brass. Yet “re-education” is usually considered “coercive discussions forced upon political dissidents by the military.”
Apparently, Wassana “asked the deputy junta head about government making the attitude adjustment session as a course. He replied her by asking whether she wants to be in the session or not.”
When a Matichon journalist asked about the detention of Watana Muangsook, the dumpy thug-General demanded: “What’s your relation with Watana, why are you so worried about him?”
Threatening journalists is now going to be standard practice, and the tolerance of these intolerant dictators is going to be extremely limited. The plan is that there will be no anti-junta or anti-charter news anywhere.