Censorship

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/0 … index.html

Transcript: Thaksin Shinawatra interview
POSTED: 9:51 a.m. EST, January 15, 2007

SINGAPORE (CNN) — CNN's Dan Rivers spoke to ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The following is a transcript of the interview. Rivers began by asking Shinawatra about his alleged involvement in New Year bombings in Bangkok.

Shinawatra: It's baseless allegations. No one believes so. Because everyone knows who is, who am I. I come from election, I come from the people. I owe gratitude to our people. I do everything for the good of the country and the people. I don't do something that's stupid.

Rivers: So you had no involvement.

Shinawatra: Not involvement at all. But I would like to express my deep sympathy, deepest sympathy for those who lose, lost their loved ones and also all those who are injured. And the individuals who are involved must be brought to justice.

Rivers: This is the first time you've spoken since the coup of September the 19th, first of all, you were in the United States, in New York at the U.N., when this happened, how did you find out that this was going on?

Shinawatra: Well I find out just about four, five hours before, before it happened, but I trying to get into the television station but it's very difficult at that time I cannot get into it until I can get into channel 9 briefly, but you know, which I, it's a rumors at that time but I don't believe that this can happen again in the 21st century.

Rivers: So it was surprise when it happened?

Shinawatra: It's very surprise because you know, but anyway 70 years in Thailand, 17 coup happened is very unfortunate but it's, it's an event that happened here in Thailand.

Rivers: Will you go back to, back to politics?

Shinawatra: No. No. (DR: Go back as a private … ) Enough is enough. Six years you serve the countries. You been working hard. You sacrifice your time even your life. And, even your family life. So it's, it's time for me to go back as a private citizen. And contribute to the Thai society outside political arena.

Please read Thai version here http://www.fringer.org/?p=202

Lately CNN said about Thai media censorship

Dan Rivers: The army justifies seizing power in Thailand in September by accusing the government of being (endemically) corrupt

They said Priminister Thaksin Shinawat has to be deposed for the good of the country. Many expect a massive evidence against Thaksin to be presented quickly. So far, there has been none.

Speaking exclusively to CNN, Thaksin is now hitting back at the accusations.

Thaksin: Actually, it’s a baseless allegation. It is just a political tool and I coperate very well with all level agencies. But now, they still cannot find any evidence against. It’s just allegation.

Dan Rivers: And you can put your hand on your heart and say you never broke any laws; you never bend the rules in your favor.

Thaksin: I’ve never bend the rule. I’ve never bend the rule. But, I’m, you know, very tough on handling job because I want to get thing done. But everything is true to the rule of law, not just to set up my own law, set up my own rules. No, I’m not dictator. I’m not a dictator

Dan Rivers: The media in Thailand to face the dilemma to give in army request not to publish Thaksin’s comments or (publishing can be damned???).

Thai Journalist: We have to use our judgement what thai news we can report or cannot report and at the end of the day, basically, self-censorship.

Dan Rivers: But in CNN case, the censorship is not of our choosing.
A woman in a television in CNN news:…Thailand deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawat open…(And the television signal is changed to random pictures of hollywood celebrities)

Dan Rivers: This is what happened whenever Thaksin Shinnawat is mentioned on cnn within Thailand. You can see the signal is blocked with pictures of hollywood celebrities for some reason. Apparently, an attempt from the Thai military junta to stop Thaksin’s view reaching the Thai people.

Pro-democracy campaigner said that the army has treated the media with contempt.

Anti-coup campaigner: They called the local media in and threatened them basically. So, it doesn’t bode well for the (protest) of the political reform

Dan Rivers: For those that have dared to challenged the junta reporting restrictions. These are nervous time. Dan Rivers, CNN, Bangkok.

Thank for the script here from http://www.growlichat.com/blog/2007/01/ … -from-cnn/

http://www.cnn.com/exchange/blogs/in.th … ngkok.html

Off the Air in Bangkok

Well, our tussle with the military junta here is almost becoming comical.

CNN’s signal into Thailand is being blocked whenever our exclusive interview with deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is broadcast. Yet, the entire transcript has been carried on the front pages of all the papers here in Thailand, so quite why it is being censored on TV is mystifying me. Whenever the signal is blocked, a montage of photos of various Hollywood celebrities is put out on CNN instead.

My cameraman cruelly suggested most viewers would prefer to see Brad Pitt to Dan Rivers any day of the week! We’ve also become increasingly concerned about a number of sinister phone calls to our office here in Bangkok, with callers repeatedly hanging up and asking for information on the whereabouts of my Thai producer.

Several of our phone calls from the office have also been mysteriously cut off. It smacks of an intimidation campaign of course I have no proof of that, just a journalistic hunch.

But it’s clear our interview has caused waves. We interviewed Thaksin in Singapore, where he also met a senior politician. Our interview threw his visit to Singapore into the limelight now the military regime in Thailand is furious with the Singaporeans they’ve cancelled an official visit of the Singaporean foreign minister and cancelled a civil service exchange programme, because they dared to have a meeting with the deposed prime minister of Thailand…oh and because they didn’t prevent CNN from interviewing him there too.

The Singaporean Ambassador has also been summoned to government house here for a reprimand. It’s not quite war, but it’s certainly a jolly angry spat. Its ironic that the undemocratic, authoritarian junta here in Thailand is trying to take the moral high ground with Singapore itself not exactly a paragon of freedom. In my opinion, it all bodes ill for Thailand’s return to democracy.

The military junta had promised to lift martial law by the end of 2006 – but now we’re in 2007, and martial law remains in place, CNN is being censored, local TV stations are self-censoring their output and there is a growing climate of anger, trepidation and fear…especially in the CNN office, where the anonymous, threatening calls keep coming!

and this from BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2 … rship.html

Thai censorship
Richard Porter 21 Sep 06, 01:44 PM

If you'd been watching BBC World at 23:50 GMT last night, you would have seen a report about the Thai prime minister arriving in London, after flying from the United Nations in New York.

Except in Thailand, however. There, just as the report began, a caption appeared in place of our signal to say “programming will resume shortly” – and then, bizarrely, a montage of Western movie stars appeared. We'd been censored… as we have been since the coup began on Tuesday.

Things have got a little better. Initially we were taken off air completely, as were CNN. We re-appeared yesterday morning, Thai time, but since then have both been subject to selective censorship.

Footage of the coup leaders appears to be allowed to go out uncensored, but anything involving Thaksin Shinawatra is being blocked. Does this mean, however, that the Thai people know nothing of what he is saying?

I doubt it very much. In this digital age, information travels freely – if it's not by satellite television, it's via email, the Internet, or by SMS. The crude censorship being deployed in Thailand may hark back to an age when Governments really could control all the information, and surely those days are gone.

Incidentally, we know exactly what's happening thanks to our colleagues at BBC Monitoring, based at Caversham. They have been carefully monitoring all the media reports in Thailand, and I'm grateful to them for providing us with the necessary information.

So last night they were able to tell us more details about the terms of the censorship, by monitoring a report on the Thai Channel 9. This is the text of the statement read out:

“Having successfully seized the executive power of the country, the Administrative Reform Committee under the Democratic System with the King as the Head of State commands the ICT Ministry to censor, prevent, block out, and destroy dissemination of information in the information technology system, transmitted through all communication networks, that contains articles, messages, verbal speech or any other discourse that might undermine the reform for democracy under constitutional monarchy as already specified in the Administrative Reform Committee Under the Democratic System With the King as the Head of State's earlier announcement.”

Perhaps we should be grateful that at least they're admitting to censoring the media. This morning there was a bit more detail to accompany that statement. BBC Monitoring reports the Thai Nation newspaper's website as saying…

“The permanent secretary for Information and Communications Technology Ministry Thursday (21 Sep) held a meeting with representatives of various media. Kraisorn Pornsutee, the permanent secretary, asked the media representatives to cancel the show of SMS comments of audience on TVs as well as cancelling phone-in comments on radio programmes. Those attending the meeting were representatives of state firms, website operators, mobile phone operators, print and electronic media. The meeting took place at 13:30 local time (06:30 GMT). Kraisorn also asked the website operators to monitor comments on their webboard to screen out provocative comments.”
So the authorities are trying to restrict the new media as well as the “traditional”. As I've said, I doubt if that can really be effective. But it would be interesting to see what you think about that – especially if you're in Thailand…

Richard Porter is head of news, BBC World

also from Washington post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co … 00112.html

Thailand Summons Singapore's Ambassador

By AMBIKA AHUJA
The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; 3:34 AM

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thailand summoned Singapore's ambassador Tuesday to express concern about former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's recent meeting with a top official and to urge caution in the future, the military-installed prime minister said.

Thaksin met recently with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar during one of many trips he has taken in Asia since being ousted from power in a Sept. 19 coup. Coup leaders say the trips are politically motivated and last week revoked Thaksin's diplomatic passport.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra make a point as he addresses the crowd during a major rally near the Thai Grand Palace, in Bangkok, Thailand, in this Feb. 4, 2005, file photo. Thailand has summoned Singapore's ambassador to discuss why ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra granted meetings with officials during a visit to the island nation the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday January 16, 2007. Coup leaders and Thailand's military-installed government have been embarrassed by Thaksin's travels, which have made front-page headlines back home. AP Photo/David Longstreath, FILE) (David Longstreath – AP)

“We informed the Singaporean (ambassador) that we are concerned by the political movements made by Thaksin,” Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters after a briefing from Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram, who led the meeting with Ambassador Peter Chan.

“Singapore should be more cautious about allowing such movements since we have already revoked Thaksin's diplomatic passport,” he added.

Singapore's Foreign Ministry confirmed that their Thai ambassador met with foreign ministry officials in Bangkok.

“Mr. Chan explained that the Singapore government regarded this as a private visit,” the ministry said in a statement. A statement issued Sunday described Jayakumar as an “old friend” of Thaksin's and said their meeting was “purely social and private.”

Thaksin has been barred from returning to Thailand since the coup. His travels, including trips to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia, have made front-page headlines back home.

The military council that removed Thaksin has renewed attempts to muzzle the media and its coverage of him. The generals asked broadcasters last week to limit coverage of comments by Thaksin and his representatives in the name of national unity, prompting a media outcry but succeeding in blocking certain broadcasts.

A CNN interview with Thaksin broadcast elsewhere Monday evening was not shown in Thailand.

Cable TV provider UBC decided “not to broadcast the interview” and instead repeated an earlier program, said a UBC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The official said there had been no particular order from coup leaders not to air the interview.

CNN spokeswoman Evonne Inn said the Thaksin interview was blocked by local affiliates in Thailand. “We are unable to comment on the action taken by affiliates,” she said.

Since the coup, the military and the temporary government it installed have blamed Thaksin and his supporters for trying to cause unrest to destabilize the country. Thaksin has denied the allegations, for which no evidence has been produced.

In the CNN interview, Thaksin repeated that he has retired from politics.

“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was time to “contribute to the Thai society outside (the) political arena.”

In a separate interview published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, Thaksin said he would not try to return to power and criticized the new government's economic policies.

“I reassure them they shouldn't feel worried about me,” he said, adding that he will not seek to regain his old job _ but will remain a member of his political party. He also said Thailand must better prepare for economic competition.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” he was quoted as saying on the newspaper's Web site. “And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society. Competition is unavoidable so we have to prepare for it.”

On Itv Thailand, only one that stands against Junta

With respect, I think that t cannot be called “Adequate”. Sooner and later it will be nothing to adequate.

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