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article imageThai junta leader Prayuth wants media blackout for ex PM Thaksin

By Alessio Fratticcioli     Nov 3, 2014 in World
Bangkok - Thailand’s military junta head Prayuth Chan-ocha has asked the national media to “stop reporting" about former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"The media should not publish news about that," Prayuth said today in a press conference after a reporter asked him about Thaksin’s recent trip to China, Thai newspaper Khaosod reports.
“He is a fugitive, why report about him? If you stop reporting about him, then it is done," Prayuth added, although photos of Thaksin's trip to China have been mostly shared on social media by internet users.
Thaksin, who was deposed in a military coup in September 2006, lives in self-imposed exile abroad to avoid jail for a corruption conviction which he regards as politically motivated.
Despite his absence, the tycoon turned politician remains the centre of the Southeast Asian country’s decade-long political crisis.
Political parties led by or aligned with Thaksin have won six general elections in a row since 2001.
His younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister in July 2011, becoming the Kingdom's first female PM ever and, at 44 years of age, one of the youngest.
Her prime ministership lasted less then three years, as in May 2014 she was also ousted by a controversial court ruling, just before the military seized power on May 22 with the twelfth successful military coup in Thailand's modern history.
Prayuth became junta head following the May coup that he staged as army commander. In August, he was appointed prime minister "by a legislature he hand-picked," Reuters reported.
Following the military takeover, the IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) expressed deep concern "about reports of increasing control by the Thailand Military Junta over news and information on radio, television, printed and online media that is sent abroad and the implications this has for freedom of expression in the country."
In a report published in September, Amnesty International documented serious human rights violations since the military imposed Martial Law and seized power in May 2014.
"Hundreds of arbitrary detentions, reports of torture and other ill-treatment, sweeping restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and unfair trials in military courts are creating a climate of fear in Thailand, and there are no signs of a let-up," Amnesty International said.
More about Thailand, prayuth chanocha, Thaksin shinawatra, Bangkok, Politics
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