Court blocks Thai government’s restrictions on coronavirus reporting

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An order by Thailand’s government that restricted the country’s coronavirus news reporting was temporarily blocked by a civil court in Thailand on Friday.

In late July, the government issued an order saying that it banned the sharing of information that causes “public fear” or “distorted information causing misunderstanding which affects national stability,” The Guardian reported

Though the government argued that the move was necessary to fight the spread of fake news, critics of the policy have said they believe it silences those who are critical of the way the government has handled the coronavirus pandemic. 

Earlier this week, a petition was filed against the government order by 12 organizations, ultimately resulting in the civil court’s decision that blocked the government from enforcing it, Bloomberg reported.

A meager 6 percent of Thailand’s population is fully vaccinated, while confirmed COVID-19 cases have continued to tick upward. On Friday, the country reported 21,379 confirmed cases — the highest the country has seen since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the World Health Organization.

More than 5,800 people have died from the pandemic in the country.

Critics of the Thai government say that vaccine rollout has been too slow. They have also criticized how the government has handled the growing number of new cases, Bloomberg reported.

Photos of people dying in the streets of Thailand have circulated online, adding more furor to those upset with the government’s response, The Guardian noted.

The country has run out of hospital facilities and has started to make a makeshift facility in the Don Mueang International Airport to support the surge in new cases.

The Associated Press reported last week that officials were racing to have the makeshift facility ready in two weeks. It would include beds constructed from cardboard boxes, pillows and mattresses. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Thailand
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