Thailand at a Crossroads: After a military coup, community radio stations bear the brunt of official repression

May. 15, 2007

New York, May 15, 2007Broadcast news outlets in Thailand have been heavily censored by the military junta that took power in September 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in a new report, Thailand at a Crossroads.

The junta has acted aggressively to control news and commentary on thousands of small community radio stations throughout Thailand, a nation where 80 percent of citizens get their news from broadcast outlets. Stations received strict orders from the ruling Council for National Security to broadcast military-prepared news three times a day, to halt call-in programs, and to stop reporting news that mentions the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Authorities have monitored content closely, taking stations off the air at times and detaining journalists for questioning.

Critical television coverage has also been dampened. Military censors have blocked coverage of the former prime minister, and the junta has nationalized Thailands only privately run television station, iTV.

The military junta has promised that Thailands new constitution will include stronger press freedom guarantees than those included in the abolished 1997 charter. Yet the glaring contradiction between the juntas words and its actions has many media reform activists on edge, writes the author, CPJ Asia consultant Shawn W. Crispin.

The report is available online,, and will appear in the coming edition of CPJs magazine Dangerous Assignments.

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