About 10am of September 20, the national TV stations began running their programs as usual. However, obvious, that does not mean it already return back to normal mode.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) called for participation from mainstream journalists, cell phone operators, SMS content providers ISPs, and web administrators to filter and highly monitor information. Here is the summary of the call.
- All medias, including websites and updates via SMS, has to check a news with Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Channel (Channel 5) and the MICT websites before releasing it on air.
- Every single post on webboards and websites (I would think primarily it focuses on the journalism websites that allow comment.) must be closely monitored by web administrators (or webmasters). The responsibility of the posting is totally given to both the author and webmasters.
- Live SMS, MMS, and telephone interview (phone-in) are temporarily not permitted, except a telephone report from journalists.
- The MICT website is the only information center of the CDRM; The Council For Democratic Reform Under Constitutional Monarchy.
- For the very active political websites or webboards, they are asked to close the websites for 12 day beginning today (September 20) as the intended coup period of 15 days. To extend the closure, the web administer will be informed as a call for participation in written format. [Source: manager.com – September 21]
As officially stated, there are two (2) types of opinion pieces that are prohibited: an opinion that refers the monarchy, and the one that is harmful to stability and peace of the country. The updates on Thaksin and his ex-cabinet are still allowed.
Overall, the decision whether if a single piece is allowed or not is finally up to the CDRM. Although the CDRM announced that there is still freedom of press, I would not think they would allow criticizing the CDRM as critical as the international medias do. For instance, I would not think they will allow an opinion that criticizes or questions the CDRM leader (e.g. regarding his religion with the situation in the south of Thailand).
“The Thai Journalists Association and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association yesterday issued a joint statement and open letter calling on the CDR to give the media the freedom to express and present news.” [Source: Bangkok Post – September 22]
Perhaps, it is not about the filtering, but instead about the traditions, including local morality and ethics, of Thai press. I would think when the situation turns back in a normal mode, they still would not criticizes the CDRM leader as CNN, BBC, and other international medias did.
Therefore, here are the examples of the news piece you will never see on local medias, whether or not during the coup period. [Note: For sensitive Thai readers, please read them carefully]
- Thaksin’s arrogance ‘something the king cannot stand’ (CNN – September 20)
- Thai king remains centre stage (BBC – September 21)
BBC also made a note on the concerns of the coup about regional press.
Therefore, I would think the CDRM might have to turn their intentions to international medias more. Otherwise, there will be more misunderstanding about the situation as ones may already see from the response from US Department of the State.
By the way, the lottery offices confirmed their operations back in normal. :)