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A broadcast reporter in Thailand has been forced off air for violating orders under martial law that prohibits critical reporting on the ruling junta, local news reports said.

Nattaya Wawweerakup from Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was suspended as a host of the program “Voices of the People that Change Thailand” on Nov. 15.  The order to remove her came from high-ranking military officers working at the National Council for Peace and Order, led by the military officers that seized power in a May coup.

In a Nov. 8 program, Wawweerakup interviewed villagers and others who criticized the ruling junta. In response, five high-ranking military representatives met with  PBS executives at station headquarters and threatened to suspend the program if she was not removed as its host, local media reported.

After the meeting, station executives removed Wawweerakup as host and made her editor of the program. They also said the station would change the show’s format so it would not air interviews with people on the street.

Thai media groups including the Thai Journalists Association and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association issued statements condemning her suspension.

Thai media have been heavily censored since the coup. In its aftermath, thee military closed 12 television stations, but have since allowed them to reopen under strict censorship guidelines, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Earlier this month Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand’s army commander and interim prime minister, appointed a panel to draft a new constitution. There is speculation that it will bar former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies from government, the Associated Press said.

 

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