Thailand is known to be a world-class travel and tourism destination with an image of peace, smiling people, and white sandy beaches, mixed with thousands of years of unique cultures.
This picture is true for the most part. A recent brutal assault on three British tourists during the Thai New Year celebration, known as Songkran, last month painted a very different picture.
Thailand is currently ruled by a military government not allowing citizens and of course the press to express the freedom others would enjoy in a democratically-ruled country.
Much under attack in Thailand is the freedom of the press. As much as the criminals attacking tourists in the resort town of Hua Hin in April face stiff penalties and years in prison, as much want the government wants to crack down on journalists and social media bloggers that releases a video clip filming the attack. It hurts tourism in Thailand.
“We want to find the person who leaked this video clip”, told Prachuap Khiri Khan the Bangkok Post.
His reasoning: The CCTV footage was key evidence in the police case and should have not been released to the public.
No wonder the police chief is embarrassed.
Before the video was leaked officials played down the attack as a confrontation among drunks getting out of hand. The main reason, the truth is bad for Thailand’s tourism image.
In the meantime four men had been arrested in the assault and all the victims are recovering well in a local hospital.
Keeping the media under control in Thailand is a hot issue these days.
Just last week the Election Commission has been attacked by human rights advocates for crippling the ability for voters to discuss the constitutional draft. The military junta finds it illegal for Facebook or Twitter users to like or not like postings.
Discussion meetings among Thai citizens to discuss the constitutional draft have to be attended by officials of the military. It’s the way for the ruling military to encourage the public to vote in the referendum. It’s a military style of persuading voters that the draft is good.