A top cable and satellite television provider is being called out for posting a job listing for an “international news censor” on the nation’s biggest job site.
Since Saturday, TrueVisions has been criticized for its post on JobsDB for an employee to monitor “inappropriate” news from 17 foreign news channels and talk shows and report them to superiors.
What defines “inappropriate?” According to the job post, any content deemed to violate Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the section known as lese majeste, which makes defamation of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The job listing came to light after Tatthep Deesukon, a research assistant and cofounder of Facebook page Yarm Fao Jor, wrote about the listing Saturday. It led some to criticize the company’s willingness to support censorship.
“This is why the country deserves to be called Kala Land,” Facebook user Pran Tamalee wrote, using a popular metaphor for Thailand being an ignorant frog inside a coconut shell. “The world has changed, and anyone who is not willing to change along with it, too bad.”
Some threatened to cancel their TrueVisions subscriptions. “After this promotion, I’ll stop using it,” user @Tkbrxaxyu1gpkpb tweeted.
“Banning True is the solution then,” wrote Facebook user Noi Fitzpatrick. “We can get information from original news anyway. We don’t need an operator that lacks principles like True.”
The job listing did not indicate salary or other information about the job. Today, it had been replaced by a message reading, “We’re very sorry. This job no longer exists.”
TrueVisions is part of True Corp., a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand, Thailand’s and one of the world’s largest conglomerates, which has seen its fortunes soar under the military-aligned government in the form of friendly regulations and many big-ticket concessions.
TrueVision’s employment of news censors were raised four years ago in a report by Sasiwan Mokkhasen for Khaosod English that True was contracting monitors for two news outlets – BBC and Al Jazeera. It was based on recruitment messages circulated via Line among Chulalongkorn University communication students and alumni.
That came after the BBC had been blocked a number of times when reporting on the ruling junta. The government at the time had complained about foreign coverage of crowd sizes publicly mourning the late king. The government denied playing a role and True said blocking the broadcasts was its
Though prosecutions under the Computer Crime Act have surged while those under Article 112 have fallen, social media has seen an unprecedented rise of Thais challenging the highest levels of authority.