Thailand’s military government has detained a reporter for an English-language newspaper as part of what appears to be a fresh crackdown on critics of the ruling junta.
A spokesman for the junta, Col. Winthai Suvaree, acknowledged that Pravit Rojanaphruk, a journalist for The Nation newspaper, was taken into military detention on Sunday.
Winthai said in a text message to local journalists on Monday that Pravit and several other people had been taken in for discussions with the authorities because of statements they made violating the junta’s policies on information. He said that the length of Pravit’s detention depended on how cooperative he was.
The Nation’s Group Editor-in-Chief Thepchai Yong called for Pravit’s immediate release.
“There is no justification whatsoever for his detention. If the military believes he has done something wrong, there are normal legal channels to deal with it,” he said.
This is the second time Pravit has been detained by the military. Last year he spent almost a week at a detention centre for so-called “attitude adjustment” just days after the junta came to power in a military coup. He compared his experience to being in the ‘Big Brother’ house in an interview with Asian Correspondent shortly after his release.
“It was surreal. Everything was surreal,” he said. “It struck me that we were kind of in this ‘Big Brother’ reality show the entire time.
“I think that it tested everyone’s mettle, being there. Some people crack. Some people cry, some people beg.”
In the last tweet he sent before he was detained Sunday, Pravit said:
— Pravit Rojanaphruk (@PravitR) September 13, 2015
Last week, the military detained two politicians who had been critical of the junta, including a former energy minister.
Additional reporting from Associated Press