Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bangkok Post: Community Radio Broadcasts Interview with Thaksin, Junta Gestapo Agents Pay a Visit

After Thaksin calls, officials drop by

The military junta and the Public Relations Department on Thursday inspected the Confidante community radio station hours after ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra called to talk to listeners on-air. The station then went silent. Council for National Security chairman Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said that he assigned the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) to find more information on the radio station and report to the CNS.

In the broadcast, which was repeated by the Confidante station just before it went off the air, Mr Thaksin called for an early election, and said people would not tolerate any delays in the election, points he has made in previous interviews overseas.

Bavorn Techa-in, chief of the National Broadcasting Commission which is under the government's PRD, said he was assigned to inspect the station, which is in the northern Bangkok suburbs in Nonthaburi province.

Mr Bavorn said the station had been set up unlawfully. He denied, however, that there was any order to shut down the station.

Mr Bavorn may have been economical with the truth. Other media reports quoted the chief of the PRD as saying he had issued an order to close down the radio station.

Either way, Confidante radio stops airing its program on Thursday afternoon. One report quoted staff as telling the PRD inspectors that broadcasting equipment was broken, and they had to send it out for repairs on Thursday morning.

The inspectors seized a tape recording of the 15-minute call and talk by Mr Thaksin, who phoned the station from London late on Wednesday.

Mr Thaksin called the low-powered community radio station, which can be heard in many parts of Bangkok.

Announcer Chupong Theethuan told the AFP news agency he was "shocked and speechless" when he realised the person on the other line was the ex-premier.

It was the first time Mr Thaksin had spoken to any Thai media since the Sept 19 coup. Mr Thaksin said he believed people would not tolerate any delays in the election.

He told the Council for National Security and the government that they need not worry about him, but instead should use their time to solve problems of the country.

He thanked his supporters and gave them encouragement to go through the problems they faced.

The content of the broadcast was not especially newsworthy. Mr Thaksin said much the same thing in interviews with the foreign media earlier this year.

The ousted premier mentioned buying Manchester City league but refused to give details. He only said it will benefit Thailand if he purchased the Premier League team, without clarifying how.

1997 Constitution

Section 63. No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

Section 65. A person shall have the right to resist peacefully any act committed for the acquisition of the power to rule the country by a means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

My stance is that as long as Thaksin has not been indicted, hasn't had his liberties restricted through a legal process, and has not been convicted of a crime, he can do whatever he wants as long as it is within the law.

I don't see any harm in talking to his supporters on the radio. He didn't ask anybody to rise up against the government or tell his supporters to go on murderous rampages in his name.

And these dunderheads who run the government don't seem to get that every time they make a big deal about Thaksin, he becomes a big deal.

Here is more in the Bangkok Post on the same story:

FM station raided and shut down

Thaksin interview on air sparks crackdown

Yuwadee Tunyasiri

Broadcasting regulators yesterday raided and shut down a community radio station which ran an interview with ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and threatened to crack down on thousands of illegal community radio stations. The FM 87.75 station was raided and closed down yesterday after the Public Relations Department, the regulator of community radio stations, found that it had no licence to operate.

Department chief Pramoj Rathavinij said yesterday that he ordered drastic measures against the stations which aired comments from Mr Thaksin for national security reasons, adding the department would take this opportunity to deal with around 3,000 illegal community radio stations across the country.

The deposed leader called three radio stations known to be sympathetic to him on Wednesday night.

Besides the FM 87.75 community radio station, he called the FM 92.75 taxi drivers' community radio and the internet radio station run by the Saturday Voice Against Dictatorship website.


I thought one of the reasons for the coup was that Thaksin was censoring his political opposition.

I guess all the hypocritical Thaksin haters are happy that their beloved junta is now playing from the same play book.


Two men arrested for running community radio station without license

Two men were arrested Friday for operating 92.75 MHz community radio station without license.

Police and Public Relations Department officials raided the station of the Taxi Drivers Club at 2:30 pm and arrested the house owner, Shinawat Haboonnak and the station director, Phansak Sabu.

The two were charged with operating the station without license.

Police and the PR Department officials took the action after former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra called into the programme to talk to his supporters.

Shinawat said the station had stopped broadcast on air for four days because its transmitter broke down. However, the station broadcast through its website,

I wonder where are all the free speech and human rights groups. Where is the mainstream media?

Junta agents shut down a community radio station and arrested the operators for interviewing Thaksin. Other stations are on the hit list.

In Chiang Mai, three anti-coup activists were detained by junta agents and taken to a military based for "questioning."

All this is happening and nobody does anything.

But hey, as long as some people can simmer in their hatred for Thaksin, it is OK for the rest of us to suffer under this new seeping totalitarianism.


Red and White said...

I care for Thaksin as much as a fork in the eye, but this action by the junta is ludicrous. Don't they realise they simply give him more power with actions like this? It smacks of insecurity, I can't think why. Maybe total incompetence and lack of ideas has something to do with it?

Rich said...

Over-reaction par excellence. These people dont spend enough time thinking and way too much simply reacting.


Matty said...

The junta has really started to chase shadows in earnest . . some junta generals must need to justify themselves I guess.

I can guess the next chapter of this saga. Thaksin by tomorrow or next will formally ask for approval from Bank of Thailand to remit money from his frozen account to pay for his Manchester City bid.

(Why did they allow Potjaman to withdraw that Baht 400 million in the first place while Thaksin (indirectly) had all these tax evasion and other cases still to be judicially tried? But that is my opinion of course.)

svl said...

Just what is it that they broadcast over at anyway Fonzi? How to avoid your taxes and be thaksinomically happy?