Minister Chaiwut VS Bootylicious: a war against free speech

It goes to show, getting rid of General Prayut Chan-o-cha won’t change much. Getting rid of the Prayut Regime, or Traditionalist Regime is what will bring real changes.

Case in point.

Ask a friend who’s the new Minister of Digital Economy & Society is, likely the friend won’t have the answer. But of course, the friend knows the previous one, Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who has been stripped of his position and is on bail awaiting a seven-year prison term for his role in the 2013-14 PDRC protests. (Meanwhile, Parit Chiwarak and others haven’t been found guilty of anything but sit in jail.)

Buddhipongse was a famous minister for his social media warfare, wielding a weapon of mass destruction known as the Computer Crime Act in the War Against Free Speech.

Now, we can all take note of the new minister, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.

Since its debut, this past weekend, the Facebook Group #ย้ายประเทศกันเถอะ (let’s move countries) is now nearing 800,000 members. It also has a new name, โยกย้ายมาส่ายสะโพกโยกย้าย (let’s move, move that hip, let’s move), with a bootylicious lady in spandex as a cover photo.

In case you don’t already know, the group reflects society’s frustration at the Prayut Regime’s nauseating incompetence and the hopelessness facing our future. That frustration translates into a call to move countries. How many people will really move? No one knows.

But Minister Chaiwut is definitely concerned. So worried that On 4 May, he threatened arrests and prosecutions. What is he afraid of?

Social division, instigating hatred, and, of course, defaming the institution.

“We’ve gathered all the witnesses and evidence and will prosecute all wrongdoers,” said the minister.

However, he’s kind enough to say that it’s not illegal to discuss moving countries while the government encourages work and study abroad. But he also warned, do not discuss illegal immigration as it would affect international relations and prevent Thais from obtaining visas. As well, beware of human traffickers taking advantage of those who want to move countries.

So, you see, Buddhipongse or Chaiwut, all the same. Why? Because they work for the regime, not the people, and the War Against Free Speech rages on.

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