Opinion: The information decree is the latest sign that this administration is crumbling

The decree passed by the government on Thursday night was not the move of a popular government or even a powerful one.

The decree, which aims to curtail the spread of information that could jeopardize national security or incite panic, has been criticized by all as being problematic and draconian. Note that we say information not misinformation as the new decree doesn’t differentiate between the truth and fake news, it will prosecute any information that hurts the government’s public image.

But the public can see the decree for what it really is, the move of a desperate government that has lost much of its legitimacy and all of its trust with the people that it has failed.

A strong government would not need to pass an information control act, it would not be afraid of criticism over mismanagement but rather address those shortcomings with good governance and strong decisions.

Only a government that has lost control of the situation, and this government certainly has, will resort to Orwellian, strong-armed tactics to silence the plight of its people.

What the government is essentially telling the Thai people by passing this decree is that your suffering doesn’t matter, the deaths do not matter, the government’s failed response doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is their public image which they care more about than the truth.

Because under the new decree, even if the news is true, if it is bad for public morale it can be censored and the person sharing the news prosecuted.

How thin-skin the despot is as he sits on his seat of power and is oblivious to the destruction he has wrought.

The government has, basically, stuck its fingers in its collective ear and closed its eyes and hoped for the best.

This is Prayut now, defeated but still defiant (or perhaps oblivious) to the truth. We should not expect any better because this was a government that seized power through a military coup. It is run by military men – incapable of any governance that relies on consent and not conscription. This latest move shows the Thai military is not one of strength but subjugation.

We, the media and the people, can and must resist this latest proclamation.

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