Thai junta to tighten control over social media

 
Despite the censorship and surveillance already imposed on the press and Internet users after the coup d’état in May, the junta is now exacerbating an environment of fear by further tightening its control over social media.   
 
Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Deputy Spokesman of the Prime Minster’s Office, said on Wednesday morning at a press briefing that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister and head of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), had ordered the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) to come up with measures to tighten its control over social media.
 
Sansern said “The PM confirms that this is only to take care, but not to control. People need to understand not to infringe on the rights of others to improve society.”
 
Since last month, the credibility of the Thai authorities has been put to the test as Thais and the British and Myanmar media criticized the Thai authorities, especially the Thai police, over the investigation into the Koh Tao murder, where two Britons were killed on a tourist island. Thai police have accused two Myanmar citizens of murdering the British pair, while Thai social media users have said the two Myanmar suspects are scapegoats. Gen Prayut has supported the work of police and urged people to stop criticizing.  
 
In September, the Thai authorities reportedly started implementing a surveillance device to sniff out Thai Internet users, specifically targeting those producing and reading lèse majesté content, a report says. Although the report is yet to be confirmed, it has created a greater climate of fear among the media. 
 
Since May, the junta has issued Order No. 26/2014 on the control of social media, which gives MICT permission to access all kinds of internet traffic.