In an attempt to control the media, the junta leader Thursday gave absolute power to the broadcast and telecom regulators to order closure of media outlets without the right to appeal.
Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha, in his capacity as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), issued Order Number 41/2559 on the supervision of distribution of news and information to the public. He exercised his power under Article 44 of the postcoup interim charter.
The order empowers the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to monitor the broadcast media against airing reports deemed detrimental to the political system or may destabilise the national stability and damage the moral value of the people.
The NBTC will also monitor against reports that violate the NCPO Orders No 97/2557 and No 103/2557.
Any radio and TV stations that violate the orders will be immediately shut down by the NBTC and the stations cannot appeal against such closure.
The two orders issued in 2014, shortly after the coup in May that year, drew much criticism from local media groups as well as international rights organisations. They said the orders, which empower authorities to suspend distribution of publications and broadcast of electronic media, resulted in restriction of the freedom of expression and people’s rights to information.