Thursday, August 06, 2020

No questions allowed in Govt House

Nov 03. 2016
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By WASAMON AUDJARINT
THE NATION

For the third consecutive week, reporters on the Government House beat were not given a chance to ask Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha any questions during his weekly news briefing.

Apparently, this was to “prevent political heat” during the mourning period. Prayut, who usually enjoys interacting with the media, has recently taken to briefing the press on topics ranging from the Cabinet meeting and logistics of the royal funeral to plunging paddy prices.

And with the absence of microphones, reporters have no option but to take notes as Prayut tries to cover all issues of interest. Looking over the briefing session was Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, who explained that this was being done to calm political heat in this time of grief after the passing of His Majesty the King.

“Reporters tend to ask the premier political questions or drag him into reacting with third-party actors,” Sansern said. “It would be improper to raise temperatures during this sad period.”

Sansern said reporters would be able to ask questions once 30 days have passed since His Majesty’s passing, but would not confirm.

The Office of the Government Spokesperson had previously introduced measures to “organise” reporters on the House beat who frequently pose questions that trigger the ire of the hot-tempered junta leader. Earlier this year, the reporters were limited to asking just four questions, though this rule was soon lifted giving the talkative PM a chance to answer, kid around and slam reporters once again.

See alsoDoubts over new controls on journalists at Govt House

The newest move to control the press requires all reporters to re-register and submit new endorsement letters to get new ID cards. This move has resulted in a veteran reporter getting suspended.

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