Thailand PM bemoans ‘divisive’ soap operas

New prime minister slams TV soaps and threatens he will write them himself if their scripts do not improve.

Prayuth has also penned lyrics to a patriotic ballad, 'Return Happiness to Thailand' [EPA]

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has criticised television soap operas for promoting violence and divisions in society, and says he will write them himself if he has to.

Prayuth, who is also army chief, staged a coup on May 22, overthrowing an elected government after six months of at times violent anti-government protests.

“I have ordered that scripts be written, including plays on reconciliation, on tourism and on Thai culture”, he told reporters on Friday.

“They are writing plots at the moment and if they can’t finish it I will write it myself”, he said of a team of government-appointed writers.

The military government has ruled unchallenged since taking over and has cracked down on pro-democracy dissidents and supporters of the ousted government of Yingluck Shinawatra. It has even warned academics that debate that might “cause misunderstanding” would not be tolerated.

Scripts ordered

Yingluck, Thailand’s first woman prime minister, is the sister of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecoms tycoon who shook up politics by winning over poor voters with populist policies and challenging the royalist establishment.

Prayuth bemoanded hugely popular television soap operas which he said encouraged violence rather than peace.

“In our country, television dramas make people fight and they create divisions so we have much improvement to make in this area”, he said.

“I have ordered that scripts be written,” he said. “One plot will be two foreign families come to visit Thailand, they meet each other and come to love each other.”

It is not the first time Prayuth has shown an interest in the arts.

The straight-talking general also penned lyrics to a patriotic ballad – “Return Happiness to Thailand” – which is played by radio and television stations around the country.

Source: Reuters