National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
It’s been more than 24 years since the media reform began in Thailand, but the state still refuses to give up its ownership of public frequencies. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissioners, over half of whom are military and police officers, has allowed state agencies to continue to own frequencies, and ignored the recommendations from an internal committee. To make matters worse, the NCPO recently made an order allowing state agencies to retain frequencies for further five years. Currently, the military still owns over 100 frequencies.
The Thai government should immediately disclose the whereabouts of Prawet Prapa
The military has reportedly detained incommunicado two political dissidents, one of whom is a human rights lawyer who represented a former lèse majesté convict. Kritsadang Nutcharat, a human rights lawyer, told Prachatai that on 30 April 2017, his fellow human rights lawyer, Prawet Praphanukul, informed him that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has summoned him. Prawet asked Kritsadang to represent him on one of his cases before he disappeared and could not be contacted further.
After almost three years in power and billions of baht spent in drafting the new constitution, the 20th Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand was officially enacted on 6 April 2017. Thailand has gone through 19 constitutions in less than a century and there is no guarantee that the latest one drafted by the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee will be the last one.
To promote its controversial pro-coal policy, the junta has set up a committee to gather public feedback and promote understanding. But military officers occupy more than half of the committee seats. On 22 March 2017, the Royal Gazette website published the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 5/2017 to establish a committee on energy policy in Southern Thailand.
Thailand’s worsening human rights record will expose the military junta to further international embarrassment during a review by a United Nations (UN) human rights body, FIDH and its member organizations Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) said today.
Civil society groups oppose the junta’s plan to use the regime’s absolute power to speed up the process of registering pharmaceutical patents, warning the plan could cost billions of baht in increased drug costs. On 1 March 2017, FTA Watch, a civil society group monitoring trade policies, and AIDs Access Foundation (AAF) submitted a letter to Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, urging him not to use Section 44 of the Interim Constitution to bypass normal regulations in registering pharmaceutical patents.
The appointment of a new supreme patriarch is an opportunity to better politics and Buddhism in Thailand. In what could be described as one of his earliest exercises of power, King Rama X has appointed Phra Somdej Maha Muneewong as Thailand’s newest Sangha Raja. After three years of vacancy, Thai Buddhists and the nation’s order of monks have got their long awaited Supreme Patriarch. But despite much celebration and fanfare, will the new Sangha Raja rescue Thai Buddhism? And what does the whole appointment process say about contemporary Thailand and its broken politics?
News of police scapegoating innocent victims has inspired public calls for police reform. But amidst announcements by the junta that it will push ahead with planned reforms to the police force, some believe the initiatives will only increase the regime’s grip over the nation’s law enforcers.
Three more military generals have been appointed to the junta’s National Legislative Assembly (NLA). On 2 February 2017, the Royal Gazette website published an announcement that three military generals had been appointed to the junta’s hand-picked NLA.