PTV and websites blocked to stop spreading hate

On 8 April at about 9.20PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva said that during the 24 hours since the declaration of the state of emergency, steps had been taken to suppress the distortion of information which brought about hatred. 

After the declaration, he watched PTV and found that red-shirt speakers were inciting the crowd by saying that the government intends to wage war on the people and will quash them with lethal weapons. 

Those who view this station all the time will hate the government, hold it as the enemy, and join the protests, while those who disagree [with the red shirts] will hate the protesters even more and will want the government to suppress them, if they watch and hear all the threats that are made on the channel.  He did not want Thai society to get stuck in this trap, he said.

So the suppression of this kind of activity was the first thing that had to be done.  He skipped the technical side, and only said that to do this was not easy because current technologies provide numerous channels of communication.  However, since late morning [of 8 April], it had been achieved to a certain extent, and he hoped that the atmosphere of hatred should at least be curtailed.

Information presented by other media outlets should confirm to the people of the whole country, including those who are going to join the protests, that the government is not making war with the people, and does not want to kill people.  What the government wants is peacefulness, he said.

Under the Emergency Decree, the government can seek court orders more effectively for those who commit offences regarding national security.

Abhisit stressed that the purpose of the government was not to disperse the protesters, but was to reclaim the site by convincing them to leave.  To address their grievances, the government will consult all sides, including academics, civil society, politicians, and others.

He believed that when the propagation of information to incite the public was stopped and violent leaders were arrested, it should be possible to convince protesters who were there in good faith to return the site to the public.

From now on, the law will be strictly enforced upon those who join the illegal protests.  Abhisit warned those who want to join the protests that they would be committing offences and would be arrested.  He asked the public to warn their family members and friends not to join the protests, and help communicate to the protesters to go home.  He also asked the public to help the government in the arrests of those who commit offences.

Abhisit said that the best way to solve the conflicts is to build a common feeling that Thais must not kill each other, and can tolerate differing views. 

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