Army chief concerned about disinformation in social media

Army commander-in-chief Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart today expressed concern about fake news and disinformation that will be disseminated in the social media after the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) lifts the ban on political activities.

However, he said he is not worried about the overall political situation as he believes that all sides are now looking forward to an election.

Gen Chalermchai said one of the topics discussed at the meeting of NCPO yesterday was  preparations for the general election.  The army chief reaffirmed that the military junta will issue an executive order to partially relax the ban on political activities. The ban was imposed in a series of earlier executive orders shortly after the junta seized power in 2014.

He said the political ban will be eased so that during the months between September and December political parties can recruit new members, hold party meetings, elect party leaders and engage in other activities. However, political campaigns will not yet be allowed until the organic law on the election of MPs takes in effect.

He said the only thing he is concerned about is a possible spread of fake news and disinformation in the social media in the run-up to the election.

The army chief said he has instructed army personnel to be neutral and not to side with any of the rival political camps.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-on-cha reaffirmed yesterday that the election will be held in accordance with the political roadmap designed by the military junta.  February 24, 2019  is the earliest date legally possible for the election to be held, he said.