A Thai court on Tuesday (20 October) ordered the suspension of an online television station on the grounds that it has violated the recently-passed “emergency decree” by broadcasting the anti-government protests.
Under the decree, gatherings of five persons or more are prohibited. Authorities are also given under the order the power to arrest and detain people without charge for up to 30 days for reasons as vague as “supporting” or “concealing information” about the protests.
The decree also bans the publication of news and information “which may instigate fear amongst the people” or that “affect national security or peace and order”.
Reuters reported a spokesperson of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry as saying that Voice TV was also found guilty of breaching the Computer Crime Act by uploading “false information”.
Voice TV chief editor Rittikorn Mahakhachabhorn in a statement, however, insisted that the outlet has been “operating based on journalistic principles and we will continue our work presently”.
The outlet in a statement noted, however, that it has yet to receive any court order documents at the time of writing.
Voice TV is partly owned by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who left Thailand after allegedly politically-motivated corruption cases were made against them following a coup by current premier Prayuth Chan-ocha in 2014.
The Thaiger reported that a document signed by National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk made its rounds on social media after being leaked.
According to the document, the Telecommunications Commission and Digital Economy and Society Ministry are required to ban Voice TV, as well as a slew of other media outlets such as The Standard, The Reporters, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page.
It is not known whether there are other media outlets being suspended at this point, The Thaiger noted.
The recent pro-democracy protests in Thailand, primarily led by the youth, focus on pushing for the dissolution of Parliament, the enactment of a new Constitution and reforms to the monarchy.