Saturday, February 3, 2007

Reporters Without Borders Annual Report: Thailand

Thailand - Annual report 2007

Before he was overthrown in a military coup in September, Thaksin Shinawatra had continued to weaken the independence of the media and to harass dissidents. The government set up by the junta has not lifted pressure or censorship, particularly online.

The year 2006 turned into a nightmare for Prime Minister and media magnate Thaksin Shinawatra. At the start of the year, the Thaksin clan suffered a stinging defeat in the courts with the victory of press freedom activist Supinya Klangnarong whom it had tried to gag. She had in particular condemned the head of state’s conflict of interests. Under growing pressure from street demonstrations, Thaksin Shinawatra mobilised his supporters against media hostile to the government. At least six journalists were physically attacked or threatened in April by some of his supporters. Despite his promises, the prime minister continued to bring “defamation” suits against media who criticised him, demanding grossly inflated damages. In 2006, at least five journalists were sacked as a result of government pressure.

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