Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles during a welcome luncheon hosted by Japan Business Federation in Tokyo in February. (AP / Koji Sasahara)

Thailand’s junta leader and prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who toppled the government of Yingluck Shinawatra in a coup last May, told reporters on Wednesday that he will “probably just execute” any journalist who does not “report the truth.”

Prayuth had been asked at a press conference how he would deal with journalists who do not adhere in their reporting to the government’s preferred view of events. He spoke “without a trace of a smile,” Reuters reported.

Reuters, via The Guardian, continued:

Known for his abrupt manner and impulsive remarks, Prayuth launched a crackdown on dissenters after seizing power in May. He has said Thailand is not ready to lift martial law, which gives the army sweeping powers, including for arrest and detention. In January, the junta forced a German foundation to cancel a forum on press freedom, saying Thailand was at a sensitive juncture.

Since taking power, the junta has made full use of martial law, which also bans all political gatherings.

Prayuth was particularly critical of the Thai-language daily newspaper Matichon, accusing it of siding with the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies. “Don’t think I don’t know that your writing is pro the previous administration,” he told a Matichon reporter shortly before boarding a plane to Brunei. “The previous interior ministry bought many advertising spaces from you.”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.