Media barred from junta’s reconciliation session

The media have been barred from the junta’s first regional session for political reconciliation in Chiang Mai. Participants were not even allowed to record the discussion.
 
 
On 1 March 2017, Pawin Chamniprasat, Chiang Mai Provincial Governor, hosted a hearing as part of the junta’s political reconciliation programme with over 50 participants from various sectors including government officials, members of the provincial Chamber of Commerce and local industrial council and village headmen. The forum was the first reconciliation session hosted outside Bangkok.  
 
Before the session began however, participants and staff were asked to turn off their cell phones. The forum organisers also prohibited the media from observing the discussion. 
 
Pawin said that six sessions will be hosted in Chiang Mai to hear local opinions about the junta’s reconciliation programme. The feedback will help the junta design its 20-Year National Strategic Plan. Pawin speculated that some 200 people will participate in the six sessions.
 
Kittisak Mekkhachon, President of the Village Heads Association of Mae Taeng District, told the media that the forum was a good effort, but not without problems. He believes that political elites are fighting for their own interests and never listen to the voice of people on the ground.
 
The National Reconciliation Committee (NRC) is responsible for leading the junta’s reconciliation programme. The committee is dominated by junta-appointed military officers including the military’s Supreme Commander, the Royal Army Commander, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force and the Police Commissioner-General.