Media controls

If there is any “funny business” going on about succession, then strict media controls can control some of the news on this. And the military junta has that in place, in the name of mourning. Of course, it already had significant control before the king’s death.

The Nation reports that “[t]elevision channels agree to suspend normal programmes for 30 days while newspapers and magazines will print only grey.” The 30 days means that the state’s pool must be used when required. Junta spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said “that networks would simulcast from the Television Pool of Thailand when special programmes are televised concerning … the King’s rituals.”

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) issued “a guideline for free-to-air TV broadcasters during this 30-day period.” This means that “TV programmes and advertising must not contain improper scenes such as entertaining, dancing or violent acts. TV presenters, hosts and announcers must dress in white or black and act properly.”

The more interesting guideline is that “information related to the King’s passing must be approved by authorised bodies. Criticism or analysis is not allowed.”

Also, “all newspaper content and ads must be published in grey, while magazine covers must also be printed in grey. The colour of inside content is still subject to government direction.”

It is reported that “media and advertising agencies have to stop all commercial advertising for three days while event organisers must stop all on-ground activities and entertainment for 30 days.” Newspapers are still running advertisements.

Social media isn’t exempt: “YouTube will shutdown for at least seven days while other websites must be grey and other Thai media outlets will likely follow the government announcement.”

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