Parties promise to revoke NCPO's media muzzling laws

Democrat Party list-MP candidate Bunyod Sukthinthai (left) and Future Forward's spokeswoman Pannika Wanich both vowed that their parties are committed to completely revoke all media censorship edicts of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The Future Forward and Democrat parties reassured the media Thursday they will push to revoke National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) directives that restrict press freedom in Thailand.

Speaking during a "Political party policies toward the media" discussion hosted by the Thai Journalists Association, Pannika Wanich, a spokeswoman for the Future Forward Party said her party's plans to set up a committee to review six of the NCPO's orders imposed on the media.

Ms Pannika was referring to Order No 103/2015, which prohibits the publication of news that could affect national security or news that could create conflict within the country; Order No 103/2015, which forbids the press from criticising the NCPO; and Order No 3/2016, which allows the NCPO to prevent the printing and distribution of books, newspapers, and other materials that criticise the NCPO.

"There are no clear lines on what the media can or cannot do because these orders are too vague," said Ms Pannika.

"As a result, some media have decided to censor themselves because they don't want to be shut down," she said.

"Forcing the media to abandon their ideals is not what democratic countries do."

Democrat Party-list MP candidate Bunyod Sukthinthai also said the freedom of Thai media will be one of the most urgent problems that his party tackles if it manages to win the election.

"Our party will always support Thai media organisations -- we won't act as a regulator that always keeps a close eye on the press," said Mr Bunyod.

That said, he also expressed concerns about the neutrality of some Thai journalists and media organisations.

"Members of the press need to ask themselves these questions -- are you profiting from advertisements, or from someone else's money? And do you report news based on your ideals, or someone else's will?"

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