"--IANS/EFE"
Bangkok, May 20 (IANS/EFE) The Thai army that declared martial law in Thailand Tuesday asked local radio and television channels to stop their usual programming for army broadcasts whenever called for.

The measure is to prevent the misconception or distortion of information that could deepen the conflict, an army order said in a statement broadcast simultaneously on all television channels.

The army prohibits the media from airing any news or photograph that could jeopardise the national security, the statement added. The anti-government groups-affiliated channel Blue Sky Tuesday went off air after the orders.

Nine other channels, including three state affiliated, also received the same orders.

The Bangkok Post reported that over 100 military men have set a checkpoint near the Thaicom Plc office, which airs the majority of television channels in the country.

Military presence was also reported around the local television studios of PBS and Channel 3.

Thailand's army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha declared martial law Tuesday to keep law and order after six months of anti-government protests that have claimed 28 lives.

In an early morning televised address, Prayuth insisted that it was not a military coup and the objective was to avert violent clashes among the demonstrators.

The army chief who will take absolute control over security enforcement, ordered the dissolution of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and order, leaving the positions of the officers in the army, navy and air force intact.

Thailand is mired in a political turmoil since 2006 when a military coup threw Thaksin Shinawatra out of power.

--IANS/EFE

ab/vt


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