Lights Out…

The AP’s Amy Sawitta Lefevre writes about CNN, the BBC, and Al Jazeera being taken off the air in Thailand…

One of the first actions taken by the generals now running the country was to impose sweeping censorship across the media.

The crackdown on the media appeared to be more vigorous than after the last of Thailand’s frequent coups, in 2006, perhaps, according to some observers, due to greater opposition to the army’s action and a more defiant “blogosphere” online.

“Measures became more aggressive after the coup announcement and now critical opinions are not allowed to be published, broadcast or circulated,” said a television presenter at a state-run station, who declined to be named for fear of breaking the law. “The military have threatened prosecution for any defiance.”

Prayuth’s announcement was followed by bulletins from the army’s own channel, interspersed with patriotic martial music.

Radio and television stations were ordered to suspend normal programming and air only military broadcasts and official content. Media outlets that tried live streaming online through YouTube channels were soon closed.

The blackout extended to foreign broadcasters including CNN, the BBC and Aljazeera. By mid-afternoon on Friday, none were back on air.

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