Thailand Military Continues Media Control, Post-Coup

Royal palace, Bangkok

TV channels restored, but Internet censorship continues.

Thailand’s Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC), which has controlled the country since Thursday’s military coup, has allowed TV channels to restart broadcasting more or less as normal. But the Internet and other sections of the media remain under close supervision.

Editors of some 18 newspapers were summoned on Sunday to meet with military commanders, who warned them to limit criticism of the coup and minimize challenges to their rule. An unknown number of journalists and academics are believed to have been detained.

Former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra was initially held at an army detention center, but was freed on Monday (May 26).

An army spokesman said that normal democratic principles cannot currently apply.

Social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remain partially blocked, but blogs and messaging services are being actively used to organize small, seemingly spontaneous, anti-coup demonstrations. The POMC has banned political gatherings of more than five people, but in the streets there has been a succession of demonstrations which set a location, but quickly melt away when challenged by the army.

The U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail reports that its very popular website has this week been blocked in Thailand after it published a video showing the country’s Crown Prince and his wife, the latter wearing nothing more than a G-string, feeding cake to their poodle.

Private and state-backed TV channels were replaced on Thursday by content supplied by the military rulers.

Thursday’s coup was the 12th since the 1930s. It replaced a caretaker government that was crippled last month when the constitutional court removed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nearly half of her cabinet.

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