Prayuth Wants No Politics During National Mourning

Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks to reporters last October at Government House in Bangkok

BANGKOK — The media should avoid writing about politics and instead focus on the work of the government in the aftermath of King Bhumibol’s death, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha said Friday.

Calling for unity made at a public event at the Muang Thong Thani exhibition hall, Gen. Prayuth said Thailand must move forward from political infighting and continue the legacy of the late monarch, who died Oct. 13 at 88.

Read: For Nation in Mourning, All Roads Lead to Sanam Luang

“The media should not write about politics these days, because we don’t have politics these days,” Prayuth said. “Write only about what work the government is doing, as guided by the wisdom of His Majesty, to fit with the situation. Please, don’t start any fights. Give us some time. Give some time for peace.”

Prayuth spoke at a time Thailand is still reeling from death of King Bhumibol, who ruled Thailand for 70 years and was considered a patriarchal figure by many. It was the first time the junta chairman had addressed political matters since the king’s death.

“Ministers have to help, too. Don’t be divisive. Don’t hate this person or that person. Enough,” he told those at a budget planning conference. “If you want to hate someone, just hate yourself, so you won’t trouble other people.”

The government has announced a year of national mourning, and all media have been asked to broadcast documentaries and biographies about His Majesty the Late King.

In Friday’s speech, the junta chairman called on the nation to made progress and prove its stability despite the sorrow gripping the realm.

“Foreign countries are watching us every day to see which direction Thailand is headed,” Gen. Prayuth said. “That’s why I’m telling you, we are between failure and glory … they will see whether Thailand is peaceful, whether Thailand is stable.”

Starting today, Prayuth’s weekly Friday addresses to the nation via a TV program called Returning Happiness to the People will be replaced by shows promoting the late king’s philosophy.

Related stories:

King Bhumibol, Monarch and Father to Millions, 88

Public Holidays Yet Unchanged, Gov’t Says

Outbursts of Anger Part of National Grieving Process, Psychologists Say

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Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @teeranai_c. He began working for Khaosod newspaper in 2012 before switching to Khaosod English in late 2013. His interests include politics, crime, the monarchy and the latest Naga sightings.