Thai Army Chief Concerned about Disinformation on Social Media

By Thai PBS 30 August 2018

The Thai Army commander-in-chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart today expressed concern about fake news and disinformation that will be disseminated in social media after the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) lifts the ban on political activities.

However, he said he is not worried about the overall political situation, as he believes that all sides are now looking forward to an election.

Gen Chalermchai said one of the topics discussed at the NCPO meeting yesterday was preparation for the general election. The army chief reaffirmed that the military junta will issue an executive order to partially relax the ban on political activities. The ban was imposed in a series of earlier executive orders shortly after the junta seized power in 2014.

He said the political ban would be eased so that during the months of September to December political parties can recruit new members, hold party meetings, elect party leaders and engage in other activities. However, political campaigns will not yet be allowed until the organic law on the election of lawmakers takes effect.

He said the only thing he is concerned about is a possible spread of fake news and disinformation in the social media in the run-up to the election.

The army chief said he has instructed army personnel to be neutral and not to side with any of the rival political camps.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha reaffirmed yesterday that the election will be held in accordance with the political roadmap designed by the military junta.  February 24, 2019 is the earliest date legally possible for the election to be held, he said.