Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta is not happy with Twitter.
How dare this impudent social media platform remove 926 IO (Information Operations) accounts allegedly operated by the Royal Thai Army.
Buddhipongse said he demanded Twitter to remove 65 accounts alleged to have defamed the monarchy. He plans to submit 253 more. He insists that Twitter must conform to the Thai court and Thai law.
Many people agree with him.
What is this thing called “Platform Manipulation Policies”? Why is Twitter so obsessed with IO accounts instigating misinformation, hatred, and division?
There’s something much more urgent that requires the effort of an entire government department.
More crucial to our reason for living and breathing is this: feelings are hurt because Twitter accounts allegedly say unkind things about the monarchy.
Feelings are hurt, don’t they understand?
General Prayuth Chan-o-cha is also worried. He has had the same worry since the 18 July pro-democracy protest.
On 9 October, he expressed that worry again:
“I believe everyone knows what is appropriate or inappropriate.”
The prime minister referred to the demand to reform the monarchy institution.
He’s not the only one worrying.
On 9 October, a group of former Thammasat University students, calling themselves “Thammasat Defends Moral,” spoke at a press conference.
With grey hair and long faces, they condemned the young protestors and demanded them act ‘appropriate’ and not push for the monarchy institution’s reform.
They, of course, are in a solid company.
The new army chief General Narongpan Jittkaewtae, who took office on 1 October, swore that he would follow the footsteps of his predecessor, General Apirat Kongsompong: to defend the monarchy.
So let’s put everything into perspective.
Thailand’s government leaders defend the monarchy. Thailand’s military top brass defend the monarchy. Thailand’s “poo-yai” generation defends the monarchy.
All of which is fine and wonderful.
Love, revere, and respect as your heart desire.
But the question is this:
Who defends the people?
Who stands up for our human rights? Who guards our civil liberty? Who fights for our equality under the law?
Never mind the salaries that come from the people’s tax. Let’s take money out of the equation. Instead, let’s talk about moral obligations, ethical values, and just plain-old-basic human decency.
While government leaders, military top brass, and the “poo-yai” generation are obsessed with defending the wealthiest and most powerful institution in the land, who’s defending the people?
That’s why we live under an unjust constitution, the rule of double-standard, and a fascist cultural norm.
That’s why on this coming 14 October, we will stand up for ourselves and defend each other.