Asia

Thai PM, army deny campaigns on social media to target political opponents

BANGKOK: Thailand's prime minister and the army denied on Wednesday (Feb 26) opposition accusations in parliament that the military targets political opponents and rights activists with online propaganda campaigns run from fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

The accusations provoked Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha to walk out of a heated parliamentary debate on Tuesday after a lawmaker of the outlawed opposition Future Forward Party presented documents that he said bore out the claims.

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"I don't know about this, I don't have this type of policy," Prayuth told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the documents.

"We will investigate, but there is no policy."

READ: Thai opposition starts censure debate against PM and ministers

The lawmaker, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, had told parliament the documents showed Prayuth's government was funding military-run smear campaigns to systematically harass opponents and praise the government on social media.

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He read from what he said were two leaked military memos that ordered army personnel to create fake social media accounts to "offer counternarrative" for criticism of the government.

Reuters has not examined the documents.

"The army works in the open and we don't use avatars," Lieutenant General Thanya Kiatsarn, of the second army area command, a unit the opposition said figured in one of the memos, told the Khaosod newspaper.

Some soldiers may be using social media to defend the reputation of the military but the effort was not centrally organised, he added.

Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to emails to seRead More – Source