Thai PM renews attack on regime’s critics

Bangkok, Sep 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has threatened to summon any critics of the regime who disrupt its efforts to restore peace in Thai politics, the media reported on Tuesday.

Dismissing calls for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to stop detaining critics, the premier insisted that a person would “have to face (summons) if they defame the government”, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand’s English-language daily, The Nation’s senior reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk was the latest government detractor to be summoned and held on Sunday after reporting to the 1st Army.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai is among those likely to be summoned next. He has criticised the coup-makers for detaining those who disparage the military for what it calls “attitude adjustment”.

“I don’t understand why they keep talking (that way) while the nation is moving forwards,” Prayut said.

The media has criticised the NCPO for harming press freedom by detaining Pravit. Manop Thip-osod, Thai Journalists Association (TJA) deputy president for media freedom and reform, said it was normal for or journalists to criticise the government.

The TJA and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand have backed The Nation’s call to release Pravit.

NCPO spokesman Winthai Suvaree said he was unable to confirm how long Pravit would be held as it would depend on his cooperation and the results of the authority’s probe into his actions.

Authorities found Pravit’s recent comments referred to some people and organisations in a way that could “cause confusion in society”, the spokesman said.

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