BANGKOK, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday (22nd May 14) Thailand's military has announced it is taking control of the government and has suspended the constitution. The Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC) has now seized power from the caretaker government, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha announced on the national television.
In POMC's official Facebook statement, they instruct Thai people to follow only the news from military TV channels and banned all others, including all free TV, radio and all cable TV. However, in the era of social media, social media websites and applications, such as Facebook and Line, have evolved from being either just a chat app or sharing tool to become major communication mega platforms.
Mr. Teera Kanokkanjanarat, senior ICT industry analyst from Frost & Sullivan Thailand comments on this happening that "In terms of media and communication control, previous coup focused in capturing transportation routes, phone lines, and broadcasting. But this time the battle landscape is shifted to mobile communication and digital media control. Shutting down TV station isn't as important as capturing information floating around in online space anymore."
"Demographic shift. During the last coup, the communication was more limited. Active populations were university students and adults in Bangkok metro. However, this time the social media widespread has widened the participating demographic range. Teenagers and students from 13-20 have become medium for news and rumours to spread. It also brings the older generation to get on board social media."
"In addition, Authenticity becomes an issue, as each side of the political polar tries to reach and bombard more audiences with information from their end. The military not only has to establish a firm direct line of communication, they also have to outspeak noises from both sides."
"All in all, don't forget that broadband penetration and smartphone penetration in Thailand are still below 40 pct. Imagine the scale of information war if this is in Korea or Japan, which have high internet penetration," he said.
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