Thai radio shut over ex-PM’s call

BBC News

Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK

A radio station in Thailand has been taken off air
only hours after broadcasting an interview with ousted Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thailand's ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
The ex-PM is reported to have called two other Thai radio stations

The Confidante Community radio station was the first
Thai broadcaster to carry an interview with Mr Thaksin since his
overthrow by the military in September.

Mr Thaksin, who lives in exile, called for a swift return to democracy.

Military authorities said the radio station had aired material that could instigate unrest.

Mr Thaksin telephoned the radio station on Wednesday
night, when a nine-minute interview was broadcast live. The interview
was aired again on Thursday morning.

‘A peaceful end’

“I am concerned about the country… I don’t want to be
the cause for people to gather in protest and the cause of social
chaos,” Mr Thaksin said, reportedly phoning from London.

“I want to see peace and reconciliation but… if it seems like revenge, it’s hard to find a peaceful end.”

The former prime minister is reported to have called two
other Thai radio stations. He has been posting regular messages on his
website.

The military threatened in January to close down any
broadcasters which carried statements by Mr Thaksin considered likely
to endanger national security.

Mr Thaksin was deposed in September following popular
protests calling for his resignation over alleged corruption and abuse
of power.


Thailand launches crackdown on ‘illegal’ community radio stations

Bangkok- Thailand on Friday launched a crackdown on the country’s

plethora of illegal community radio stations days after exiled former
premier Thaksin Shinawatra used one of the stations to air his
political grievances. “We will be listening to these illegal radio
stations to see whether they are attacking the government and if they
do we will send authorities to shut them down,” said Borworn Thecha-in,
director of the radio and television division at the Public Relations
Department (PRD).

Borworn said Thailand had more than 1,000 small radio stations that
have operating in a legal limbo for years, pending legislation to cover
the media sector.

“In the past we have ignored them, partly because they are so difficult
to monitor,” said Borworn. “Sometimes these stations just play music
all day.”

On Thursday, the PRD closed down the FM 87.75 station after it aired a
live interview with Thaksin from his home in London in which the ousted
premier called for speedy elections in Thailand and criticized the
current government for not solving the country’s problems.

The station has been charged with operating without a license, a crime
that carries a maximumsentence of five years in jail and/or a 100,000
baht (2,857 dollars) fine.

“We were acting on a complaint,” said Borworn, explaining the closure of FM 87.75.

Thailand has been under an “appointed” government since the military
overthrew Thaksin in a bloodless coup on September 19, 2006, while he
was attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon whose family fortune is
estimated at 3 billion dollars, has been living in exile since the
coup, but he continues to be a thorn in the thigh of the current
appointed government.

Thai authorities attempted to block the airing of an interview Thaksin
had with CNN on March 20 and was irked by another Thaksin interview
that appeared the same month in Time Magazine.

Thaksin’s foray into Thailand’s community radio stations on Wednesday
was his first interview with the vernacular media since his fall from
power.

A video version of the interview was also posted on the popular
YouTube.Com, which irked the government last month with its airing of
images deemed insulting to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Access to the
website has since been blocked for Thai users.

Thai authorities, however, have not yet attacked YouTube.Com for posting the Thaksin footage.

“Lese majeste is a sensitive issue for our country, but if it is just
about politics we won’t intervene,” said Information Communciations and
Technology Ministry spokesman Visanu Meeyoo.

Thai Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said Friday that Thaksin’s latest
publicity effort was in response to the escalating problems he faces in
the country.

Thaksin’s family has been charged with tax evasion and abuse of power
and similar charges are pending against the former premier.

It is also likely that his Thai Rak Thai political party will be
dissolved by a constitutional tribunal on May 30 for committing fraud
during the April 2, 2006, general election.

Go to Google News Home
Radio station closed after airing ousted PM
The Australian, Australia – May 17, 2007
A
SMALL Bangkok radio station was raided and closed today after it
broadcast a live interview with former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra,

Bangkok radio stations to be shut after Thaksin’s address
Peninsula On-line, Qatar – 5 hours ago
BANGKOK
• Thai authorities yesterday began shutting down three Bangkok radio
stations after deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra went on air to urge a
swift

Thai radio closed after airing Thaksin interview
Radio New Zealand, New Zealand – 8 hours ago
A
radio station in Thailand has been taken off air after broadcasting an
live interview with ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who
lives in exile

Ousted Thai premier calls Bangkok radio shows
Daily News & Analysis, India – May 17, 2007
BANGKOK:
Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra has called three Bangkok radio
talk shows and urged a swift return to democracy, the stations said on

Former premier calls for speedy election in Thailand
Earthtimes.org – May 16, 2007
Bangkok-
Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in a live interview with
a local radio station, called for a speedy general election to restore

Thai radio station shut down
News24, South Africa – 19 hours ago
Bangkok
– A small Bangkok radio station was raided and closed down on Thursday
after it broadcast a live interview with former Thai prime minister
Thaksin

Ousted Thaksin ‘turns to radio’
Independent Online, South Africa – May 17, 2007
Bangkok
– Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra has called three Bangkok
radio talk shows, the stations said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt
to rally

Thailand launches community radio crackdown
Radio Australia, Australia – 1 hour ago
Thailand’s
military-backed government has launched a crackdown on the activities
of thousands of community radio stations around the country.
Thai radio stations closed for airing deposed premier interview
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (press release), Malaysia – 2 hours ago
Thai
authorities have shut down three Bangkok radio stations after deposed
premier Thaksin Shinawatra went on air in an apparent attempt to rally
support.

Thai radio closed after broadcasting Thaksin interview
Radio Australia, Australia – 7 hours ago
Three
Bangkok radio stations have been forced to close after former Thai PM
Thaksin Shinawatra was interviewed on air. [AFP file photo]

Deposed Thai premier contacts local radio stations
Radio Australia, Australia – May 17, 2007
Deposed
Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra has called three radio talk shows in
the capital, Bangkok, in an apparent attempt to rally support in the
kingdom.


THAILAND: Anti-graft body recommends charges against Thaksin – 17
Radio Australia, Australia – May 16, 2007
Thailand’s
new anti-corruption body has recommended corruption charges be laid
against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin can return to contest graft charges
Peninsula On-line, Qatar – May 16, 2007
bangkok
• Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra will be allowed to return to
Thailand to fight any corruption charges, the nation’s
military-installed

Daylife, Inc.

Thai
government ordered a radio station to shut down after it aired a
segment with ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin
The military junta and the Public Relations Department on Thursday
inspected the Confidante community radio station hours after…

BANGKOK
– Thai authorities Thursday began shutting down three Bangkok radio
stations after deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra went on air to urge a
swift return to democracy in an apparent attempt to…

A
small Bangkok radio station was raided and closed on Thursday after it
broadcast a live interview with former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, who lives in exile in London, a senior government official
said. Broadcast regulators filed a…

BANGKOK
(AFP) – Thailand’s military-backed government on Friday launched a
crackdown on community radio stations across the nation after shutting
down three broadcasters which aired comments from ousted premier
Thaksin Shinawatra.
“The public…

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