Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Thailand prime minister tells journalists to talk to his cardboard cutout

Thailand prime minister tells journalists to talk to his cardboard cutout

He then walked away after giving the crowd a hand salute, leaving reporters literally scratching their heads in confusion.

Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has come up with an innovative new strategy for ducking questions from the press.

Chan-ocha told the gathering media at an event to promote upcoming Children's Day: "If anyone wants to ask any questions on politics or conflicts, ask this guy".

Prayuth, a general who seized power of the southeast Asian country in a bloodless coup in 2014, is known for his weird and sometimes threatening interactions with the media. Except that he wasn't answering questions, because he was a mere cutout. People were later seen posing for photographs with the image.

Prayuth's government has announced it will hold a general election in November 2018 after repeatedly delaying the vote.

Prayuth has made headlines in the past for anti-media behavior.

The move was reportedly met with laughter from the government press corps, who were expecting to press the leader on government issues.

Thailand's prime minister has a strained relationship with reporters, and has in the past threatened to execute journalists who produce critical coverage of his administration, which was formed in 2014 after a coup. According to Reuters, the cutout, along with 16 other life-sized cutouts of the prime minister, will be displayed when kids visit the prime minister's official residence and office.

The gesture has been criticized by Human Rights Watch which said it shows the military junta chief's "contempt of media criticism" in a country yet to restore democracy since a 2014 coup.

Children are also invited to sit at the prime minister's work desk inside Government House.

Thailand needs to "create a new generation of politicians", he said.

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