The government is launching a “full-scale” information war against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his followers who are using the overseas media to attack the administration, Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey says.
Thaksin and Jakrapob Penkair were continuously attacking the government in the foreign media, forcing it to use the full extent of its media connections to counter them, Mr Sathit said yesterday.
“From now on the information war will be full-on, both defensive and offensive. The prime minister takes the issue very seriously and many teams will be formed to assist,” he said.
“The main objective is to provide information to local people, foreigners and the overseas media.”
He said the government had established a “war room” to handle overseas public relations.
Government spokesman Panithan Wattanayagorn and Foreign Ministry officials would operate the “war room”.
The staff would have to work hard because Thaksin and Mr Jakrapob were not easing up on making use of the foreign media, Mr Sathit said.
The government was also producing a million CDs to explain the events of the recent crackdown on red shirt protesters to the public.
The government would identify some of the foreign journalists who backed Thaksin in ways that damaged the country, Mr Sathit said, but he gave no further information.
It was also investigating ways to apprehend Mr Jakrapob, who fled the country and was now openly fomenting unrest against the government from abroad.
Mr Sathit said the reported attempts to launch an underground faction of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in 10 provinces, which would then converge on the capital, would only prolong the state of emergency in Bangkok.
The cabinet yesterday formed another committee to gather information and explain the incidents and political unrest which took place on April 13, as well as other related events.
Deputy government spokesman Suparak Khuanha said the 40-member committee, proposed by the PM’s Office, was headed by the PM’s Office permanent secretary and included the permanent secretaries of other ministries, as well as the heads of other relevant government agencies.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot urged the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to increase its efforts to track down Thaksin.
Deputy attorney general Thaworn Panitchapan said Mr Kasit and Mr Alongkorn wanted the OAG to find Thaksin quickly and then seek his extradition.
Mr Kasit will lead a delegation to seek Thaksin’s extradition once the fugitive former prime minster is found.