Fake News 101: disgust and loathing in Thailand

There’s no longer a thin line between combatting fake news and silencing the people through the rule of fear and lawfare. It has been erased.

Deputy Police Spokesperson Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen is serious.

Yesterday, he announced that photos and videos of collapsing and dying people on the streets shared on social media “could be” fake. Individuals in these footages look like they “might be” the same people as their clothes and body shapes “look similar.”

The police have set up a special task force to investigate.

The Prime Minister’s Office’s Tipanan Sirichana is super serious.

Yesterday, she declared, “The ‘boy who cries wolf’ movement that fake the images, please think of humanity. Stop doing this… if officers have to waste time investigating the lies or the fake news, many lives might not receive help in time.”

Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES) Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn is super duper serious.

Yesterday, he set up another special task force and urged all citizens to monitor and inform the DES when they see fellow citizens post fake news that spreads fear and panic.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is granted the power to cut the internet of all individuals posting fake news and stories that cause fear and panic, affecting national security, peace and harmony, or the good morals of the people.

A crime that carries a prison sentence of not more than two years and a fine of not more than 40,000 baht, according to Article 18 of the Emergency Decree.

General Prayut Chan-o-cha can’t be serious.

Yesterday, he declared that Thailand should have a blue zone, a safe zone where people can live and join hands to help those in the red zone, which, if things get better, should change color to orange.

“If we only look at the red zone, the increased rate, and the death rate, then there won’t be anything new. Right? Foreign countries no longer reveal. But we never hide.”

Fortunately for the general, saying “foreign countries no longer reveal” is not fake news that causes fear and panic. Instead, it causes disgust and loathing, which is still legal.

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