Gen. Prayuth and monarchy in ever greater control

The long-promised elections held in March 2019 made no difference to the total control wielded by the elite surrounding Prayuth Chan-o-cha, the army general responsible for the 2014 coup, who is now prime minister, defence minister and chief of the Royal Thai Police. Any criticism of the government is still liable to lead to harsh reprisals facilitated by draconian legislation and a justice system that follows orders. A cyber-security law adopted in February 2019 gave the executive even more powers and poses an additional threat to online information. The threat of a lèse-majesté charge carrying a possible 15-year jail sentence continues to be used as a weapon of mass deterrence against dissident journalists and bloggers. The coverage or non-coverage of the massive pro-democracy demonstrations in 2020 confirmed the scale of self-censorship within the Thai media. One of the key demands being made by the protesters  – reform of the monarchy – was systematically erased from mainstream media coverage. The government used the coronavirus crisis to issue a decree making the dissemination of information that is “false or capable of causing fear in the public” punishable by up to five years in prison and allowing the authorities to “correct” any published information. The authorities meanwhile behave in a very indulgent manner towards certain regimes: Cambodian, Chinese and Vietnamese operatives have been allowed to come and arrest dissident exile journalists or bloggers from their country in order to “repatriate” and then jail them.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



140 in 2020

Global score


44.94 in 2020


  • 0
    journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2022
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