Media rights groups are expressing outrage and calling on the Thai junta to release two journalists arrested last week after the military declared martial law on that country.
The Bangkok Post reports Pravit Rojanaphruk, a journalist with the daily Nation, was summoned to the headquarters of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) where he was questioned, but not in the presence of his lawyer.
“I hope people will not give up the spirit and that General Prayuth will be the last dictator of Thailand,” RSF quotes Rohanaphruk as saying before going in for questioning.
“They can detain me, but can never detain my conscience,” he added. He then taped his mouth shut (see Twitter screen capture, below).
Also being detained is Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of the political news magazine Fah Diew Gan, for having demonstrated in Bangkok against the coup.
Thailand’s military seized power Thursday May 22 in a bloodless coup. General Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the military takeover on national television, suspending the constitution and dissolving the government.
One of the junta’s first acts was to severely curtail the media: The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) says the military has blocked about 100 web pages, 15 satellite and cable networks and an undetermined number of community radio stations.
Six networks have since been allowed to resume transmissions, but are being strictly monitored from broadcasting news and any content that the government deems to encourage violence, insult the monarchy and criticize the military coup. International news channels including CNN, BBC and CNBC, NHK, CCTV are also blocked, but SEAPA says Thai audiences can still access these outlets’ online sites.
General Payuth also asked all internet operators and services providers to monitor and report all media, Facebook and other websites for violations against peace and order.