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THAIS FACE JAIL IF THEY SEND CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA DURING POLL?


BANGKOK, Thailand - Thais were not able to comment on social media sites such as Twitter on any candidate or party in the election from 6pm local time yesterday until midnight tomorrow when the results should be known. Polls opened sunday morning and close at 3pm in the afternoon.
They will face jail if they campaign during tomorrow's election on social media, with more than 100 police monitoring sites to make sure the law is enforced.
  • "Any candidates and their supporters will face jail time if they are caught campaigning on social media websites on the evening before the July 3 election," said Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of the Election Commission. Offenders face a maximum six months in prison and a 10,000 baht fine.
  • The ban includes sending short telephone texts and forwarding e-mails. The sale of alcohol is also banned over the same period, as normal in Thailand during elections.
  • The law on political campaigning through online media is not new, but it has only become an issue as sites like Facebook and Twitter have grown popular.
  • "There will be a unit of more than 100 officers to monitor this," said police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri of the social media ban.
  • "If we can track the origin of [an online message] right away, we will block the site and make an arrest. But if the sites are registered overseas and we can't check the origin, we'll first block it and ask the IP (Internet Protocol) providers for further investigation," Prawut said.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said the law was bizarre but not surprising from a government that has shut down thousands of websites since coming to power in December 2008.
Source: Agency
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