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  • Two arrested after weekend Bangkok protests

    Two people were arrested Saturday for protesting against the government’s use of the lese-majeste law, at the Victory Monument intersection in downtown Bangkok. About 50 protestors from Liberating Guard, a faction of the main pro-democracy group Ratsadon, gathered around noon to protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s government and its use of the law. Forty-eight […]

    The post Two arrested after weekend Bangkok protests appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Two people were arrested Saturday for protesting against the government’s use of the lese-majeste law, at the Victory Monument intersection in downtown Bangkok.

    About 50 protestors from Liberating Guard, a faction of the main pro-democracy group Ratsadon, gathered around noon to protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s government and its use of the law.

    Forty-eight people, mostly protest leaders, have now been charged with the violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits anyone from “defaming, insulting or threatening” the King or his family.

    Violators could be sentenced to jail between three and 15 years if found guilty. Human rights organizations have said the law is too vague and has been used as a political tool to silence members of the opposition and dissidents.

    Pro-democracy protestors, mostly led by university students, have been protesting against Prayut’s administration since June. They are calling for the rewriting of the junta-drafted charter, the reformation of the royal institution and the lifting of the lese-majeste law.   

    The flash mob on Saturday was met with arrests as police said the protestors were violating the state-of-emergency law. The government imposed the law on 26 March, 2020, saying it was necessary to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    Two protestors from Liberating Guard were taken to the Phayathai Police Station.

    There was no sign of recognizable protest leaders from Ratsadon at the time of writing but representatives of the detained protestors said they will regroup and come back to demand the release of the two detained protestors.

    The identity of the two protestors is still unknown.

    The post Two arrested after weekend Bangkok protests appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    16 January 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22960
  • Thailand finds 230 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours

    Thailand’s government said on Saturday that it had found 230 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. Of those, 209 were local infections, 21 were found in quarantine facilities, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). One fatality, bringing the death toll to 70 people. The deceased person was a 67-year-old male […]

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    Thailand’s government said on Saturday that it had found 230 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

    Of those, 209 were local infections, 21 were found in quarantine facilities, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

    One fatality, bringing the death toll to 70 people. The deceased person was a 67-year-old male who lived in Bangkok.

    The second wave of the outbreak, which began in mid-December, has led to 7,443 confirmed cases between December 15 and January 16, CCSA spokesman Thaweesin Visanuyothin said.

    While avoiding the term “lockdown”, the government has imposed travel restrictions in 28 highly controlled provinces including checkpoints and penalties.

    Clusters and provinces

    The second wave of the outbreak has reached 60 out of 77 provinces in Thailand so far.

    Of the 60 provinces, 10 have reported more than 50 cases between December 15 and January 16, contributing 94 per cent of all cases found in the second wave so far. On the other hand, 38 provinces have reported fewer than 10 cases each in the same period.

    The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, which reported 3,863 confirmed cases between December 18 and January 16. This was followed by Chonburi (644), Rayong (574), Bangkok (565), Samut Prakan (312), Chanthaburi (216) and Nonthaburi (150).

    Of the 209 local infections reported on Saturday, 165 were found in Samut Sakhon, while 12 were found in Bangkok, ten in Rayong, eight in Chonburi, six in Ang Thong and four in Pathumthani.

    The post Thailand finds 230 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    16 January 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22957
  • Growth forecast overly optimistic, Bank of Thailand warns

    The latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand could pull economic growth lower than the 3.2 per cent estimated by the government for 2021, the central bank said Friday, citing the renewed impact of the pandemic across sectors. Many businesses and households have insufficient capacity to handle the losses from the latest disruption of business activities, […]

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    The latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Thailand could pull economic growth lower than the 3.2 per cent estimated by the government for 2021, the central bank said Friday, citing the renewed impact of the pandemic across sectors.

    Many businesses and households have insufficient capacity to handle the losses from the latest disruption of business activities, the Bank of Thailand said. Some groups will see particularly steep declines in income, especially the services sector, it said.

    “Some groups that already have a weak financial position, such as the tourism sector, will be further affected, along with the 4.7 million workers in the red zone,” the statement said, referring to the 28 highly controlled provinces under the strictest measures.  

    Of those 4.7 million workers, 1.2 million are likely to become unemployed, said the bank. The pandemic has caused some manufacturing firms to suspend activities after some migrant worker employees were infected.

    The 28 provinces in the red zone account for around 75 per cent of total Thailand’s gross domestic product, according to a 2019 figure of the National Economic and Social Development Council.

    The central bank also said the financial status of many low-income households has been made further fragile by a recent drop in savings and by income instability.

    Looking forward, the bank said the economic outlook “is still uncertain depending on the vaccination progress in Thailand and more stimulus measures to support the economy.”

    However, it said the impact on the domestic economy would likely be less severe than the previous outbreak due to less strict measures and the clearer development of the vaccines.

    Nonetheless, it said, growth for 2021 was likely to be less than the most recent government prediction of 3.2 per cent, urging the government to roll out assistance for businesses and workers in the vulnerable groups.

    The post Growth forecast overly optimistic, Bank of Thailand warns appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22954
  • PM: Legalized gambling could be on the cards to curb Covid-19 spread

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Friday that he is open to the idea of legal gambling venues in Thailand, to help curb the spread of Covid-19 at underground venues. The PM commented during a videoconference with local officials in Tak province that there need to be a public discussion about the possibility of allowing […]

    The post PM: Legalized gambling could be on the cards to curb Covid-19 spread appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Friday that he is open to the idea of legal gambling venues in Thailand, to help curb the spread of Covid-19 at underground venues.

    The PM commented during a videoconference with local officials in Tak province that there need to be a public discussion about the possibility of allowing gambling venues to open in Thailand, according to Thaweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

    “Some part of the society is willing to accept it but some part of the society is still not open to the idea,” he quoted the premier as saying. Gambling has been outlawed in the kingdom since 1935.

    The PM’s comments came after a second wave of Covid-19 infections has been attributed in part to illegal gambling dens across the country, and to gamblers who cross illegally into Myanmar to visit casinos there before sneaking back across the border to avoid quarantine.

    Illegal gambling dens have contributed to outbreak clusters in Rayong, Chonburi and Chanthaburi. Illegal returnees have contributed to most of the cases that were found in Chiang Rai and Tak.  

    The premier said earlier this week that the problem of illegal gambling dens in Thailand stems from the Thai people’s need to gamble, which he could not understand. He asked for citizens to help address the problem, saying even one hundred PMs could not fix it alone.

    His comments prompted pubic criticism. Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, co-founder of the pro-democracy protest group Ratsadon, said a hundred PMs would be unable to help only if they were all like Prayut.

    Jatupat and Police General Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, former chief of police and current leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party, have called for the PM to resign if he believes that he cannot fix this problem, because other people can.

    Korn Chatikavanij, leader of the Kla Party, said on Thursday that one PM would be enough to fix the problem if he were brave enough to legalize gambling.

    Prayut said the way to stop the virus spreading through gambling dens was for everyone to stop gambling.

    Korn said the way to help fix the problem is almost the opposite, namely to allow people to gamble legally at regulated venues. He also said that legalizing gambling would increase tax revenue.

    When asked by Thai Enquirer on Friday whether his party would be willing to work with the government to legalize gambling, he said the party would wait to see “genuine commitment” from the government first.

    “Kla is willing to work with everyone to ensure successful design and execution of such an important policy,” he said.

    The goals of such a legalization, he said, should be to: eradicate illegal gambling dens through competition; lure Thai gamblers back from overseas casinos; attract overseas gamblers to Thai legal casinos; and generate revenue for the government.

    The post PM: Legalized gambling could be on the cards to curb Covid-19 spread appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22947
  • BTS extension fee could soar to 158 baht over talks delay, governor warns

    The fare to ride the Green Line extension of Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain could more than double to 158 baht, the city governor said Friday, citing stalled negotiations over how to handle the upcoming end to waived fees on those stretches of the route. Governor Asawin Kwanmuang said the higher price might be necessary if no […]

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    The fare to ride the Green Line extension of Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain could more than double to 158 baht, the city governor said Friday, citing stalled negotiations over how to handle the upcoming end to waived fees on those stretches of the route.

    Governor Asawin Kwanmuang said the higher price might be necessary if no agreement can be found after the current fare waiver expires Friday. Any price hike must be announced 30 days in advance.

    The new extensions at either end of the Green Line, from Mochit to Khukhot and Bearing to Samutprakarn, have been available to passengers for no extra charge since December 15. A basic single-journey fare in central Bangkok is capped at 44 baht.  

    Operating parties have been negotiating an extended fare for the new routes. Analysts had expected this to be set at 65 baht. It was not clear whether the higher fee for riding the extension would include travel on the central part of the route.

    The operator Bangkok Mass Transit System told Thai Enquirer that it has not received notice from the governor about any price adjustment for the extension. “The further information will be revealed from the company if there’s any development,” it said.

    There have been around 124,444 trips per day on the extension north of the Lad Phrao intersection since it went into service. However, the new wave of Covid-19 outbreak has reduced the daily number to 80,000 trips.

    A price of 158 baht (US$5.25) would put considerable pressure on commuters, in a country where minimum wage is around 330 baht per day. The economic crisis from the Covid-19 has caused household debt to surge to its highest level in 12 years, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, amid high costs of living and lay-offs.

    Parin Kitchatornpitak, an analyst at KGI Securities, expected that the government would reconsider the issue and keep a maximum ticket price of 65 baht for the Green Line extension to be accepted by related parties.

    “We are neutral on the news as BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure (BTSGIF) realizes revenue from maintenance and operation of the Green Line extension,” said Parin.

    Currently, KGI has maintained a rating of ‘Outperform’ with a 12-month target price of 13.50 baht per share.

    Shares of BTS Group Holding (BTS) traded at 9.75 baht per share on mid-day, equal to its opening price, with a transaction value of 91.1 million baht.

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    The post BTS extension fee could soar to 158 baht over talks delay, governor warns appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22943
  • Bangkok golf course closed after caddy tests Covid-positive

    Navatanee Golf Course was closed for three days after a caddy has been infected with the coronavirus, it said Friday. The golf course in Kannayao, Bangkok, confirmed to the Thai Enquirer they will be closing for thorough sanitization from January 14 to January 16. The caddy informed the company about the infection on January 13 […]

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    Navatanee Golf Course was closed for three days after a caddy has been infected with the coronavirus, it said Friday.

    The golf course in Kannayao, Bangkok, confirmed to the Thai Enquirer they will be closing for thorough sanitization from January 14 to January 16.

    The caddy informed the company about the infection on January 13 and is now being treated in accordance with to the Department of Disease Control’s procedures, they said.

    The golf course’s caddy house, clubhouse, golf carts and every other related area are being clean and sterilized, they added.

    The company said other caddies and people who came into close contact were tested and are now in self-quarantine for 14 days.

    They said they have informed golfers and other outsiders who have visited the golf course. They also said that they are in contact with a hospital about conducting more pro-active tests.  

    The news came after the Ministry of Tourism and Sports last month announced a plan to turn golf resorts into quarantine facilities.

    The government then approved six golf resorts to be quarantine facilities, three in Kanchanaburi and one each in Nakhon Nayok, Phetchaburi and Chiang Mai.

    The scheme allows visitors to spend their 14 days in quarantine at a golf resort instead of state quarantine or alternate state quarantine facilities, which are normally hotels.

    Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, said if a first coronavirus test result is negative, the person would be able to play golf while in quarantine at these facilities.

    Many golf courses in Thailand depend on foreign visitors for income and it is one of the military’s main businesses. Critics said golf courses were one of the few businesses that were not locked down last year because Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup that brought him and the current military government to power.

    The Tourism Council of Thailand said more than 50 per cent of workers in the tourism industry, accounting for 2 to 3 million people, are being laid off as the pandemic had forced businesses to close temporarily.

    The Council expects redundancies to keep rising as a result of the new wave of the outbreak, which started in mid-December.

    The Tourism Authority of Thailand expects around 10 million visitors in 2021 compared to 6 million in 2020 and 39 million in 2019.

    However, the Ministry of Finance said at the beginning of the year that they only expect 5 million visitors in 2021 while Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Center is expecting around 8 million visitors.

    The post Bangkok golf course closed after caddy tests Covid-positive appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22924
  • [Update-1] Thailand finds 188 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours

    Thailand’s government said on Friday that it had found 188 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. Of those, 154 were local infections, 21 were found in quarantine facilities and 13 were illegal entries according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). There was no new fatality in the past 24 hours, leaving […]

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    Thailand’s government said on Friday that it had found 188 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

    Of those, 154 were local infections, 21 were found in quarantine facilities and 13 were illegal entries according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

    There was no new fatality in the past 24 hours, leaving the death toll at 69 people.

    The second wave of the outbreak, which began in mid-December, has led to 7,213 confirmed cases between December 15 and January 15, CCSA spokesman Thaweesin Visanuyothin said.

    While avoiding the term “lockdown”, the government has imposed travel restrictions in 28 highly controlled provinces including checkpoints and penalties.

    The Ministry of Public Health is asking people who travel outside their home to take a shower as soon as they get home.

    They said cases of infection between family members is becoming more frequent in the second wave than in the first wave.

    Clusters and provinces

    The second wave of the outbreak has reached 60 out of 77 provinces in Thailand so far.

    Of the 60 provinces, 10 have reported more than 50 cases between December 15 and January 15, contributing 94 per cent of all cases found in the second wave so far. On the other hand, 38 provinces have reported fewer than 10 cases each in the same period.

    The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, which reported 3,698 confirmed cases between December 18 and January 15. This was followed by Chonburi (634), Rayong (570), Bangkok (553), Samut Prakan (310), Chanthaburi (214) and Nonthaburi (150).

    Of the 154 local infections reported on Friday, 99 were found in Samut Sakhon, while 27 were found in Bangkok, seven in Chachoengsao, six in Rayong and four in Chonburi.

    Illegal entries

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was in a teleconference meeting with the governor health officials in Tak province in regards of the 13 Thais who have crossed over to Myanmar, contracted Covid-19 and illegally retuned to Thailand avoiding checkpoints before testing positive for the virus.

    Local officials have estimated that 200 to 300 Thai workers have crossed over to work at casinos in Myanmar and many of them of them are looking to return to Thailand as most venues are now closed in response to the outbreak.

    However, some of the casinos there have remain illegally open in Myanmar and some Thais are still crossing over to play at these casinos.

    Thaweesin said the PM urges gamblers to stop going to casinos in Myanmar during the outbreak. There is a discussion to be had about maybe allowing legal gambling venues in Thailand.

    Mae Sot province has set up a field hospital with 200 beds to receive more returnees as 50 per cent of the more than 300 current beds in the province’s hospitals and local quarantine facilities are now occupied.

    However, local hospitals also have the ability to extend their facilities to add another 300 rooms while another 200 rooms can also be found in local hotels.

    So far, 152 Thai returnees have entered local quarantines and 65 of them have tested positive for the virus but many have retuned illegally and not been screened.

    The border police and the military have stepped up its border patrol efforts along the 500-kilometre stretch of border with Myanmar. Local health officials have also tested more than 20,000 people who have came into close contact with illegal returnees since the second wave of the outbreak began. 

    The post [Update-1] Thailand finds 188 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Covid-19
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22930
  • Multimedia Story: The Battle of Tsushima Strait

    The Battle of Tsushima Strait changed the way that Asia viewed itself in light of western imperialism. For the first time, an Asian power defeated a western power and countries around Asia, including Siam, took notice.#Thailand #History #Culture #ประวัติศาสตร์ #วัฒนธรรม pic.twitter.com/YSdEeroyg8 — Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) January 15, 2021

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    The post Multimedia Story: The Battle of Tsushima Strait appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22920
  • Royalist netizens show force with hashtag supporting article 112

    Royalist Thai netizens showed their force online late Thursday night and early Friday morning by tweeting hashtags supporting Article 112 of the criminal code or more colloquially known as the lese majeste laws. The hashtag #สนับสนุน112 (Support 112) gained more than 22,000 tweets in the past 24 hours with royalists using the hashtag to underline […]

    The post Royalist netizens show force with hashtag supporting article 112 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    Royalist Thai netizens showed their force online late Thursday night and early Friday morning by tweeting hashtags supporting Article 112 of the criminal code or more colloquially known as the lese majeste laws.

    The hashtag #สนับสนุน112 (Support 112) gained more than 22,000 tweets in the past 24 hours with royalists using the hashtag to underline their support for the law and for protecting Thailand’s traditionally cherished monarchy.

    The new hashtag was in response to posts over the last 24 hours by pro-democracy activists and internet users which called for the law’s repeal following the arrest of a student-activist (read more here). The older hashtag #ยกเลิกม112 (End Article 112) had gained over 100,000 likes by Thursday evening.

    Questions over number of supporters

    Despite more than 22,000 tweets, pro-democracy advocates have questioned whether the tweets were real or reinforced by government bots after reports last year suggested the presence of government disinformation campaigns aimed at pushing royalist and pro-government narratives.

    In October 2020, Twitter blocked 926 disinformation-spreading accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army.

    It is also unclear how many of the 22,000 tweets were hijacked by pro-democracy voices using the hashtag to disparage pro-112 sentiment.

    Online echo chamber

    While the online battle between royalist and pro-democracy forces continued on Friday morning, the hundreds of thousands of tweets calling for a repeal of the lese majeste laws and for an end to outside intervention have yet to manifest itself in tangible, real-world ways.

    Protest numbers have dwindled over the past few months culminating in a Covid-enforced hiatus. In local elections in December, the Progressive Movement, widely supported by the student activists, failed to win a single gubernatorial contest.

    The post Royalist netizens show force with hashtag supporting article 112 appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Current Affairs Main
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22915
  • Opinion: In an age of disinformation, we must become more savvy and responsible

    As Winston Churchill once said, history is written by the victors. This goes to show that what people believe is the truth is more important than the truth itself. Society is built on the narrative of our past and present. As this narrative is increasingly built in the online world, media platforms, for better or […]

    The post Opinion: In an age of disinformation, we must become more savvy and responsible appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    As Winston Churchill once said, history is written by the victors.

    This goes to show that what people believe is the truth is more important than the truth itself. Society is built on the narrative of our past and present. As this narrative is increasingly built in the online world, media platforms, for better or for worse, play an essential role in our society. 

    Trump has shown throughout his presidency that these interactions in the cyberworld have tangible consequences in society at large. For instance, it allowed Russian influence in the 2016 elections through online disinformation campaigns, which the US recognized as a national security issue. However, there is no clearer example than the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021, when pro-Trump rioters disrupted the Electoral College vote count. They attempted to obstruct President-elect Joe Biden’s formal victory under the false belief that the election was “stolen” from them. 

    This marked a moment of history where the foundations of American democracy were cracked and the rule of law subverted. While President Trump may have incited the protesters to march upon the Capitol, the media’s role is undeniable in this insurrection. It was the media – both regulated and unregulated – that perpetrated the claim of widespread election fraud. Social media, in particular, not only allowed but also encouraged a culture of rampant disinformation. Citizen journalism without traditional media’s fact-checking reverberates loudly and frequently in our social-media echo chambers, exacerbated by profitable algorithms proliferating extreme views that affirm our personal biases. 

    In particular, Trump’s prolific Twitter use – up until his permanent ban last week – allowed him to express his thoughts on a wide range of issues, from grievances to national policy. Through the platform, he moulded his nationalist America First agenda that resonated with the far right. From the moment he ran for president, he began weaving a tapestry of myth and mendacity. Even Twitter’s initial flagging of Trump’s tweets for misinformation could not stop the carnage at the Capitol. It should have come as no surprise, however, as right-wing protesters had been discussing their plans on social media and genuinely believed in Trump’s false claims.

    This is a stunning case in point of how disinformation causes social division, effectively preventing a peaceful transition of power in one of the world’s oldest democracies. It is not merely a difference of opinion that is causing polarization: It is a fundamentally different understanding of the “truth.”

    This rings close to home in Thailand, where we have domestic disinformation aplenty. In election season, each media mouthpiece spews hate campaigns. Social division between ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ shirts are caused by their very different narratives on society, not only due to their upbringing but also the media they consume. This has caused political unrest in Thailand for the past decade. 

    Take, for example, the Royal Motorcade incident last year, in which pro-democracy protesters were seen heckling the Queen, a turning point in the pro-democracy protests that led to an emergency decree and subsequent government crackdowns. Despite video footage, the fundamental understanding of the incident was different between pro-democracy protesters and royalists due to the way the narrative was spun. Pro-democracy protesters believed it was peaceful. The Government, however, disagreed: Protesters were charged with Article 110 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits acts of violence against the Queen or her liberty. On one hand, the monarchy is becoming increasingly controversial for pro-democracy protesters; on the other, it is a sensitive issue and a beloved institution for yellow shirts and pro-government protesters in Thailand. It is thus very easy for such emotions to be taken to the extreme on social media, creating political turmoil that embroiled Thailand for the past year. 

    Further division is seen through the royalist conviction, pushed by conservative media outlets, that the student protests in Thailand are funded or backed by the US government. While the US Embassy in Bangkok had issued a statement to refute this claim, it remains a widely-held belief that attempted to invalidate the pro-democracy protests and their demands. It did not help that the government has politicized “fake news” in the struggle to balance free speech while countering disinformation. While the 2006 Computer Crime Act was promulgated to block internet content deemed to be false or that undermines ‘national security’, ‘public morals’, or ‘public order’, it is more controversially used to silence critics and selectively punish political opponents rather than to indiscriminately counter disinformation online.

    Furthermore, pro-democracy protesters are particularly concerned with draconian sentences under Section 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code (lese majeste and sedition charges respectively) that have been directed against government opponents online, egged on by (sometimes false, or exaggerated) reports from online pro-government vigilante groups. Pro-democracy supporters also cheered when Twitter blocked 926 disinformation-spreading accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army that amplified pro-government content and ‘engag[e]d in behaviour targeting prominent political opposition figures’.

    Politics aside, accurate information is now more important than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inaccurate information can cause an outbreak and cause real damage to the economy either due to shutdowns or public panic. The pandemic has given rise to a conspiracy theory ‘infodemic’ – COVID cases caused by 5G networks, the origins of the virus in a Wuhan lab center, and Trump’s assertion that hydroxychloroquine is an effective COVID-19 cure. Such disinformation must not be allowed to take hold in Thailand. The government has established an anti-fake news center for fact-checking, but it is up to the media and individuals not to allow fear of the virus to raise our worst instincts: irrationally turning away the sick by protesting the building of field hospitals, allowing xenophobia towards migrants in the belief that they all are infected, and inciting panic. 

    As experienced both in the US and at home, whoever controls the narrative, controls society – the victors who will write the history books in today’s digital age are those who know how to manipulate the facts best in the war of disinformation. Therefore, the information we choose to believe in has the power to build or erode faith in our institutions. With so much accessible at our fingertips, it becomes every citizen’s civic duty to fact-check and venture out of their echo chambers.

    The post Opinion: In an age of disinformation, we must become more savvy and responsible appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

    15 January 2021
    Current Affairs
    https://www.thaienquirer.com/?p=22909