Thai press has a high level of freedom and does not hesitate to criticize government leaders, but most broadcasters are under state control. Internet use is increasing and provides a forum for political debate; it is, however, subject to state censorship, particularly of content that is seen as pornographic or offensive to Thailand’s widely respected royal family. Television has by far the largest audience, but Thais tend to rely on newspapers for news.
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Thai academics have sounded the alarm over the appearance of online groups dedicated to harassing and mocking red-shirt members, warning the government’s failure to stop such campaigns could lead to further division and bloodshed. One of these newly emergent online groups, “Social Sanction”, posts personal information on red-shirt supporters and encourages its members to mete out “social punishment.” Academics warn these online campaigns, which they speculate the government quietly endorses, could create an environment “full of fear and hatred” and lead to open violence, outcomes at odds with ongoing government efforts to promote reconciliation.