Thai junta issues order allowing closure of broadcasters

Thailand's military government gave state regulators the ability to close television and radio stations, according to details of a new executive order published Thursday. 

The move came a week after the telecommunications regulator tried to shut down opposition broadcaster Peace TV.

The suspension was halted at the last minute by a Bangkok administrative court. 

On Thursday, the junta gave special powers to the telecommunications commission allowing it to close any broadcaster "that would threaten public order," effectively allowing it to bypass the judiciary.

The junta denied that it was targeting media earlier in the week after the arrest of a journalist and the search conducted at the offices of a newspaper for "subversive documents. 

"No one is above the law, not even journalists," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said. 

Critics said Peace TV and Prachathai newspaper were targeted for their critical coverage of a military drafted constitution.

The junta has banned public discussion of both the constitution and an upcoming referendum on it, and arrested activists and politicians found violating its order.

Activists argue that such actions prohibit a discussion of the proposed constitution, which they say is undemocratic.

The draft charter would prolong military rule by allowing for a fully appointed upper house of parliament and provisions for an unelected prime minister, both major political parties said.

Last update: Thu, 14/07/2016 - 14:51

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