Thai govt ups ante in publicity battle with protesters

Thai govt ups ante in publicity battle with protesters

BANGKOK - The embattled ruling coalition countered anti-government protesters Friday by setting up a "war room" to spread information from its side, as media outlets become increasingly dominated by news of the street rallies.

The "war room" will monitor and assess the latest developments in the protests, said government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi.

A media centre has also been set up at Government House to give updates in Thai and English three to four times a day.

Both the 'war room' and the media centre became operational Friday, he said, adding that they were separate from the police Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, which is in charge of administering the Internal Security Act during the current turbulence.

Teerat said the frequency and number of channels for the dissemination of information would be increased.

The media centre will explain the latest situation to the public, he said. In addition to the government spokesman's team, there will be personnel from agencies such as the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and security agencies.

"Certain Cabinet members or even the prime minister may also be present if there is an urgent issue," he added.

Defence Ministry permanent secretary General Nipat Thonglek joined the war room's first press conference at Government House Friday. He said the military disagreed with the protesters' occupation and sieges at many government offices.

The government and the armed forces want to see talks between both sides, following almost a month of street protests, he stressed.

A number of other senior government officials were also present at the press conference.

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