Thailand’s junta tries to win favor by ordering free World Cup for all

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A Thailand junta’s latest move to win favor over its people is to eliminate pay-per-view World Cup matches in the nation.

Since taking over, the junta has done plenty to displease, including a curfew much of the country in addition to arresting a popular anti-coup protest leader.

So, they’re on a “happiness campaign” in order to curry favor with the general public, and part of that is ensuring no one has to pay to watch the world’s biggest tournament.

From the BBC:

In an attempt to subdue opposition to the coup, the military has been running a charm offensive alongside its repression.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says ensuring the World Cup can be watched by everyone is central to this so-called happiness campaign.

The RS broadcaster had already bought the rights to the matches and planned to allow only a third to be shown on free-to-air channels.

To see all of them viewers would have to buy a decoder, at a cost beyond many poorer Thais.

So the military has ordered the national broadcasting regulator to negotiate a deal for all the matches to be shown at no cost.

RS is reportedly claiming $21.5m (£13m) in compensation.

Maybe sports really are the new “opiate of the masses”.