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Thai police order media probes over protest coverage

Thai police said on Monday they have ordered an investigation of four news outlets under emergency measures imposed last week to try to stop three months of protests against the government and monarchy.The announcement prompted anger from media groups and accusations of an attack on press freedom by the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former junta leader the protesters are seeking to drive from office.

According to a police document dated Oct. 16, investigations have been ordered into content from four media outlets as well as the Facebook page of a protest group.

“We received information from intelligence units concerned that parts of the content and distorted information have been used and disseminated to cause confusion and instigate causing unrest to society,” police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen told a news conference.

He said it was for Thailand’s broadcast regulator and digital ministry to investigate and take appropriate action, adding that there was no plan to curb press freedom.

Putchapong Nodthaisong, a spokesman for the digital ministry, said it had requested court orders to take down content by the four media outlets and a protest page, among more than 300,000 pieces of content it said violated Thai laws.

Prachatai, an independent outlet among those being investigated, described it as a censorship order.

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