4 Thai news agencies shut down by gov’t as protests explode nationwide


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Four news agencies and the main student activist Facebook page this morning were ordered to halt live broadcasts and delete content following five days of growing protests that took over much of Bangkok and provinces nationwide.
In an order, telecom regulators suspended four news outlets – The Reporters, Prachatai, The Standard and Voice TV – and student activist group Free Youth, which has now garnered more than one million likes, for violating the new state of emergency.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission order said the platforms had presented “misleading information” affecting “national stability or order.” It was signed by national police chief Suwat Changyodsuk, who was appointed in August.
Thanapanee Eadsrichai, founder and reporter of The Reporters, said that the document is valid and her team is waiting for more information from the 10am press conference by the emergency task force.
The largest protests in a generation saw tens of thousands fill the area around the Victory Monument on Sunday evening as well as Asoke intersection and other locations in the capital.
After security forces forcibly dispersed a Friday protest with water cannons laced with chemical agents, at Pathumwan Intersection, pro-democracy protesters spent the weekend playing cat and mouse games to stage rallies around the capital. In response, the authorities shut down all major rail lines servicing the metropolitan area in a failed attempt to contain the demonstrations.
Similar protests drew large crowds in at least 20 provinces nationwide, from Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen down to Phuket and Surat Thani.
The commission has been used to muzzle media deemed unfriendly to the military-backed government over the years, including several orders shutting down Voice TV.
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