Amy Kazmin, the FT’s South-East Asia Correspondent, interviewed Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s former prime minister, in Bangkok on Monday, March 3, 2008. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation...
More info: Thaksin censored on TITV - Prachatai, January 9, 2008
..."But this is different. The person that we interviewed is deemed ‘uninterviewable'. He has become a forbidden subject for the media, especially TV. There have been examples of defiant journalists who faced an undesirable fate, like the female Channel 5 reporter or other radio hosts. It is less strict with newspapers. But television is deemed to have more impact on the public..."
A Thai TV news show was blocked from broadcasting an interview with deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which contained reactions to his allies' victory in last weekend's election, senior editors said Friday (28 Dec)...
Thaksin's speech at IISS - March 3, 2007
2 Mar 07 - Address - Dr Thaksin Shinawatra - On Friday 2 March 2007 Dr Thaksin Shinawatra, Former Prime Minister of Thailand, will give an address on "Democracy at a Crossroads" from 1pm...
The transcript should end up here.
Ousted Thai PM Thaksin urges reconciliation - Reuters, March 3, 2007
The exiled former prime minister of Thailand said on Friday he was willing to participate in a process of national reconciliation after being ousted in a bloodless coup last September...
And you think CNN is the king of softball questions! It is quite incredible no foreign reporter has been able to ask incisive questions of Thaksin...
VATSIKOPOULOS: The coup shattered 15 years of democracy and although most countries condemned it, Thailand is not an international pariah today and hasn’t been punished with harsh sanctions. Are you disappointed that most countries have taken a pragmatic approach?
THAKSIN: Well I will not happy if my country has been punished, because of, it’s not really punish the country but punish the whole people of Thailand. So Thailand need more investment. Thailand need more trade. Thailand need more tourists. Democracy in Thailand has been developed from baby to adolescence, to teenagers. It’s growing to be a mature person. But it's happened to fall down. When you fall down at that age you're strong enough. When you come back you can you can stand back and you can move forward. You are not turning back to baby again because you are strong enough. So I think after this year the regime have to return the power back to the people, because you know Thai people love democracy, love freedom and liberty. And Thailand has gone too far that they cannot be returned, that democracy cannot be returned. So democracy will prevail back in Thailand again.
Media groups slam 'Time' magazine - The Nation, February 6, 2007
...Time magazine allowed Thaksin to tell lies. Thaksin has the audacity to say that the Thai press printed "groundless information" about him and that he never "intervened" in Thai media activities or closed them down. Let the truth be told.
Before he came to power, the Thai press was considered one of the freest in the world, ranking 29th in the survey done by Freedom House in 2000. During his reign until September 19, the Thai press fell to a depressing 107th position last year...
Thaksin to attack Govt, CNS through website, satellite TV - The Nation, February 4, 2007
...Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will step up his attacks by giving video interviews which will be broadcast through a satellite TV and a website, a well-informed source said Sunday.
The source said the clips of his interview would be broadcast through www.reporter.co.th, known to be owned by his aide, Newin Chidchob.
The interviews would also beamed into the country on BTV to be picked up and relayed by certain local cable TV operators, the source said.
...A former Thai Rak Thai member of Parliament said a group of journalists was gathering information in Thailand to counter accusations levelled against Thaksin. These rebuttals would be broadcast using Chinese cable television.
The party member declined to be named but said the journalists worked for the reporter.co.th website, an instrument once used by former Prime Minister's Office minister Newin Chidcob, a close Thaksin aide. The website was taken down voluntarily after the September coup...
Foreign media need a history lesson before praising Thaksin - The Nation, February 2, 2006
What is going on with the Asian Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and The Economist?
Thailand: Thaksin's Giant Shadow - Time, February 1, 2007
...But for all of Thaksin's repeated protestations that he will bow out of politics, that his family needs him, that his Buddhist beliefs are propelling him to find an inner peace, the atmosphere in his fancy suite is one of expectation, not closure. Thaksin and Thailand are not done with each other yet.
Another Thaksin interview: " I'm quite confident that if I ran [for election] today, I would win, [but] I have no political ambitions." - Time, February 1, 2007
...Will you return to politics?
Right after I was ousted by the coup, I had mixed feelings. The negative feeling was that this was unfortunate for Thailand and its democracy, that the confidence I tried very hard to restore after the 1997 financial crisis would be lost. The positive part was, oh, I can retire now, I can have time for myself, for my family, I can meet friends and relax. Life is not that long, so if you can bring some happiness to yourself and your family, that's good ... I'm quite confident that if I ran [for election] today, I would win, [but] I have no political ambitions. I am calling it quits...
Some see Thaksin role in CNN delay - Bangkok Post, January 28, 2007
...Mr Sirichoke claimed CNN made gains during the Thaksin administration, referring to advertisements of Thailand's Elite Card on CNN.
Thailand Privilege Card (TPC), operator of the elite card, bought airtime on CNN worth 149 million baht.
The media spending drew attention when Thai Representation Co, representing CNN in Thailand, demanded TPC settle bills.
He said the committee picked up the case for investigation only to find that no contract had been signed.
The panel had called for documents and was later told that the debts were cleared by phuyai.
"Who else can clear [this sum of money] if not Mr Thaksin? The party will follow the matter," said Mr Sirichoke...
|Thaksin's lobbyists -
January 24, 2007
Several Thai-language newspapers have picked up information from korbsak.com about lobbying disclosure papers showing the hiring of Barbour Griffith and Rogers to "provide guidance and counsel with regard to Mr. Thaksin's interests in Washington, DC and abroad."
Another Thaksin interview: "Thaksin: Thailand's credibility at stake" - Asahi, January 23, 2007
[Thaksin begins openly lobbying his cause...]
...Thaksin said the September coup was notable in that it resulted in a populist leader being toppled from power.
This, he said, highly damaged the country's credibility in the international community...
New UBC blocking screen - January 23, 2007
UBC is back to blocking Thaksin-related content again today and has replaced the Hollywood movie star montage with a more sedate "Intermission" graphic (right).
Transcript of Thaksin Talk Asia interview - January 23, 2006
Here is the transcript for the Thaksin interview shown in full and initially censored locally.
Transcript of International Correspondents discussing the blocking of the Thaksin interview - January 23, 2006
Here is the transcript for the main segment on International Correspondents, also censored, discussing the junta's tact in blocking international newscasts domestically. Many sensationally negative comments about Thailand...
Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai leader, makes case to the world - IHT, January 19, 2007
Ex-PM Thaksin hires American political lobbyists - TNA, January 20, 2007
...According to a newspaper report in Hong Kong -- the South China Morning Post -- Mr. Thaksin met with lobbyists from Barbour Griffith and Rogers (BGR) in Hong Kong last week...
...Will new restrictions on foreign ownership in Thailand lead to panic in the property market, asks Michael Sheridan.
British villa owners in Thailand face uncertainty over the legal status of their properties, and might even lose control over their homes following a controversial change in company law by the country’s military appointed government...
Thailand may still be the Land of Smiles, but it is not a place where investors should place much faith in contracts, lease renewals or bureaucratic consistency.
| Thaksin's full CNN Talk Asia interview runs uncut on UBC in Thailand at 23:00.
We are not sure if this is a reversal of UBC policy or a lapse in censorship.
It is fascinating how the interviewer has no clue about which questions to ask and how the international media are unable to key in on the subtext of Thaksin's very strategic comments. This interview very clearly shows Thaksin is still a force to be reckoned with and is not bowing out of politics.
UBC to block Thaksin interview - The Nation, January 19, 2007
...CNN will broadcast the full interview on Saturday, but UBC spokeswoman Kantima Kunjara told AFP that they will not air it because of a request by the Council for National Security, as the junta calls itself.
"Since the CNS has asked for cooperation from broadcasting media not to broadcast statements from former prime minister Thaksin, UBC will cooperate and will not broadcast his interview," Kantima said...
Thai coup generals worry Singapore's listening in - Reuters, January 19, 2007
Thailand asks Japan to avoid Thaksin visit - Khaleej Times, January 18, 2007
Thailand has asked Japan for cooperation in handling the visit of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the country Friday and Saturday to avoid a repeat of his recent "high profile" visit to Singapore that soured Thai-Singapore relations...
CNN reporter says junta tarnishes Thailand's reputation - Contactmusic.com, January 18, 2007
...Many are left wondering ... whether Thailand and its 62 million inhabitants are descending toward autocracy and economic decline."
Singapore slaps on Thailand's face: FM - The Nation, January 19, 2007
Commentary: CNS media 'censorship' is a big mistake - Bangkok Post, January 16, 2007
Whatever the denial by the Council for National Security (CNS) chairman Sonthi Boonyaratkalin that he had nothing to do with the UBC pay television's ''censorship'' of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's interview with CNN, the writing on the wall is too obvious to miss.
The CNS request for cooperation from the broadcast media - not to cover any activities of the deposed prime minister - has, apparently, driven the editor of UBC to apply self-censorship so as to avoid what one CNS member said bluntly: ''Use your discretion properly or we impose our own discretion''...
Thai junta denies censoring CNN interview with ousted PM - AFP, January 16, 2007
Thailand's junta has denied they censored a television interview with ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a week after they urged broadcasters not to report statements by the deposed leader.
...One foreign news editor with a state-run television station admitted that his channel received the feed from CNN, but decided against putting it on air.
"It's our own decision not to broadcast it, since we were asked to cooperate with the CNS last week," he said.
Junta chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin denied they had ordered Thai media to block the interview with Thaksin.
"It's cooperation. Everybody cooperated with us," he told Channel 3 television station Tuesday morning...
CNN censored - January 15, 2007
Thaksin's interview from Singapore first ran on CNN International at 22:20. Here is how it appeared to Thai viewers watching the broadcast on local cable operator UBC (above). The story is cut off by the same montage of young Hollywood stars used to block international broadcasts after the coup in September 2006.
Above: The uncensored interview
Singapore-Bangkok row over Thaksin - CNN, January 15, 2007
[This story is also being censored when the segment is shown on local TV.]
CNS finds Thaksin Singapore visit 'upsetting' -
TNA, January 15, 2007 Ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's movements overseas --including his latest trip to Singapore-- have caused "uneasiness" and the Thai interim government needs to come up with some actions, according to Air Chief Marshal Chalit Phukbhasuk, vice chairman of the Council for National Security (CNS).
Marshal Chalit commented Monday that Mr. Thaksin's "personal" visit to Singapore from last Saturday, where he sought to meet with the island republic's deputy prime minister, was "worrisome" and suggested that Thailand must restrict the ex-premier's movements abroad, coming to an understanding with the countries the deposed prime minister visit...
Deposed Thai PM Thaksin quits politics - lawyer - Reuters, January 10, 2007
...The announcement by lawyer Noppadon Patama came just hours after coup leaders summoned radio and television broadcasters, all of whom have to rent air time from the government, not to carry any statements from Thaksin.
"I want to ask every television channel and every radio station not to broadcast messages or statements of the former prime minister and leaders of the past ruling party," General Winai Phattiyakul told a gathering of 100 media representatives.
"If they don't listen, you can kick them out of your station or if you can't use your judgement, I will use mine to help you run your station," Winai said...
CNS CENSORSHIP - Strong media protest over Thaksin, TRT ban - The Nation, January 11, 2007
...Supinya Klangnarong, secretary-general of the Campaign for Popular Media Reform, said media censorship by the CNS only further emphasised that democracy would not come under military rule.
"It's all about stifling any opposition," Supinya said. "The CNS is no different from Thaksin in this regard. Today, it is only messing with broadcast media; there is no guarantee it will not try to control the press tomorrow. It only reinforces that autocratic control, not democracy, is its highest priority."...
Freedom of expression remains intact, says Thai PM - TNA, January 11, 2007
Right: January 15, 2007, 23:00 - Both CNN and BBC seem to be unreachable at this time.
January 16, 2007, 00:24 - Both CNN and BBC are reachable via anonymizer sites...
Government blocks CNN with "fake error message" - January 16, 2007
More on Website censorship in Thailand
A thread on this subject is here.
FACT - Freedom Against Censorship Thailand reports:
Good News & Bad News, or Woo-Hoo! MICT blocks CNN!!!
Bad News (?):
CNN.com is now completely blocked by Thai (junta) government. (try http://cnn.com/ and you will be hold for a minute, then got a fake error message, "504 Gateway Timeout")
Good News (?):
You can still access Amerikan propaganda via proxy servers abroad, -OR- use "Tor" router program - an efficient way to circumvent censorship.
(Can't) Download Tor (because MICT blocks the website!):
How to setup Tor:
Websites blocked by Ministry of Information (ICT), Official Censor of the Military Coup :
13 Oct 2006 = 2,475 sites
11 Jan 2007 = 13,435 sites (more than a 500% increase)
[On January 11, MICT told Harvard University investigators they block 2000 websites!]
Royal Thai Police state they block an additional 32,500+ sites.
see more : http://facthai.wordpress.com/data/