BANGKOK - Thailand's military authorities are setting up a network of panels to closely monitor domestic and international media and crack down on criticism of what the junta sees as its efforts to right the country, a senior officer said on Thursday. Rights groups and journalists have criticized curbs imposed on the press since the May 22 bloodless coup the military says was aimed at ending six months of street protests and political paralysis.
Adul Saengsingkaew, deputy head of the National Council of Peace and Order, said the military would monitor reports that were false or posed a threat to national security. Offenders who refused to cooperate could face charges. "There will be five committees set up to monitor local and international media that will report to the military daily," Adul, a former national police chief, told Reuters by telephone. "Police will not pursue legal action against media so long as journalists are cooperative and help share news that is constructive and true. Those that spread inappropriate content may face criminal charges."