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Thai authorities restrict access to messaging app to curb protests

Thailand authorities have ordered internet providers to block Telegram, a messaging app, which has been used by pro-democracy protesters. 

An official with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission confirmed reports on Monday that they had been ordered to block access to the messaging app which has been used  Deputy police spokesman Kissana Phataracharoen confirmed an order signed by the chief of police that could allow officials to block access to news sites citing “distorted information”. Another ministry requested court orders to censor content on four media outlets and take down a protest’s groups Facebook page.

Protesters have been demanding for the abolition of a severe defamation law that protects the Thai monarchy from criticism, greater transparency of royal finances, and for the monarch to diverge from politics. Despite the protest, the Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has said that “what the government needs to do is to protect the monarchy.”

Prayuth’s supporters hold majority of the military backed government and have exercised their power to suppress speech and public communication to squash protests.

“They think they have so much power to shut people down online, but they don’t realise they can’t catch up with us new generation and the technology we grew up with,” said an 18-year-old activist. 

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