Director of NIDA Poll resigns in protest at self-censorship

The director of a university polling institute has resigned after being ordered to delay publishing a survey on Gen Prawit’s luxury watches.
 
On 29 January 2018, Arnond Sakworawich resigned as Director of the Research Centre of the National Institute of Development Administration, also known as NIDA Poll.
 
The day before, Arnond posted on his Facebook account that his resignation was to protest the university’s failure to preserve academic freedom under the military regime. He added that he will continue teaching at NIDA as normal and still supports the junta.
 
“I supported the coup d’état and still support the government, but if there’s something wrong or unjust, I don’t have to kiss [the military’s] top boot,” posted Arnond.
 
In an interview with the Standard, Arnond revealed that his decision to resign came after a university executive asked him to delay publishing the results of the poll on the luxury wristwatches of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Deputy Prime Minister. The survey asked respondents their opinion about Prawit’s claim that he borrowed the luxury timepieces from his friend.
 
“The fact that the university censored itself is a more serious matter than if the government ordered it because if the government ordered it, I think it would be unfair, but the university or its administrators who only think about their interests are far more serious,” Arnond told the media. 
 
Pradit Wanarat, the President of NIDA, admitted to the media that he had asked Arnond to postpone publication of the poll results. He reasoned that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has not yet finished its investigation into the matter. Therefore, releasing the results at this moment might mislead the public and eventually affect the NACC’s investigation process.
 
The poll is also unfair for Prawit because it specifically mentions his name, Pradit added.
 
 
 
Arnond participated in the anti-election protests (Photo from OK Nation)
 

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