THAILAND: With Censorship, Thais Turn to Websites and Foreign Media

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

BANGKOK, Apr 19 (IPS) – When the Thai government imposed an emergency law cracking down on rampaging red-shirted protesters on the streets of Bangkok, the military, in combat gear, was not its only weapon. The state’s censors were given liberty to silence critical media.

By the weekend, this climate of censorship had spread beyond the capital and five neighbouring provinces where the emergency decree is still in force. Community radio stations sympathetic to the anti-government ‘red-shirts’ in northern and northeastern provinces were raided by the police and closed down.

The information and technology ministry flexed its muscles, too, ordering Internet service providers to shut down 67 websites. That number may grow, warns a media rights activist, since “websites that were critical but not sympathetic to the ‘red-shirts’ have also been targeted.”

The four-month-old coalition government, led by the Democrat Party, justifies such measures to prevent more violence and mayhem on the streets as was witnessed from Apr. 13 through 14 in the capital. Clashes between angry ‘red-shirts’ and troops at a number of street corners resulted in over 100 people being injured and reportedly two deaths.

“The radio stations were closed because they were being used to incite violence,” Buranaj Smutharakas, Democrat Party spokesman, told journalists. “The right to free speech ends when it is being used to call for violence.”

“Although the government has brought to an end the ‘red rampage’ in Bangkok, the situation remains fragile,” he added. “The government’s major efforts are to prevent [‘red shirt’] members from resorting to terrorism and [creating an] armed resistance movement.”

Yet the act of censorship – beginning on Apr. 13 with the shutting down of the satellite news broadcaster ‘D Station’, the mouthpiece of the ‘red shirts’ – has inadvertently exposed the bias that grips local media. Mainstream print and broadcast media were not censored – they had portrayed the Democrat Party-led coalition in a positive light.
Continue reading “THAILAND: With Censorship, Thais Turn to Websites and Foreign Media”

China pays lip service to Burmese junta: observer

by Salai Pi Pi
Sunday, 19 April 2009 20:55

New Delhi (Mizzima) – China, saying it wishes to see political stability in Burma, is tantamount to paying lip-service as it does not care for genuine change because its stands to gain with the military junta in the seat of power, a Sino-Burmese observer said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday told Burmese Prime Minister General Thein Sein that it wishes to see Burma usher in political stability and national reconciliation.

Thein Sein, who is in Hainan province of China to attend the Boao Forum of the Asia Annual conference 2009, met Wen Jiabao on Friday, according to a Xinhua report.

“China sincerely hopes for Myanmar [Burma]’s political stability, economic development and national reconciliation,” Wen was quoted as saying to Thein Sein.

But Aung Kyaw Zaw, an observer based on the Sino-Burma border said Wen’s words carry little weight because China in reality prefers to see Burma stable under the current regime as it stand to benefit tremendously through its bilateral cooperation on various sectors including investment in energy and trade. Continue reading “China pays lip service to Burmese junta: observer”

ေမာ္လၿမဳိင္(ဧၿပီ-၁၉)။ ။မြန္ျပည္သစ္ပါတီမွ Khaowaonews

ခ႐ုိင္ေကာ္မီတီဝင္အဆင့္႐ွိ ႏုိင္မင္းေနာင္ ယမန္ေန႔ညေနပုိင္း(၄) နာရီခန္႔တြင္ ေမာ္လၿမဳိင္-မုဒုံေမာ္ေတာ္ ကားလမ္းမေပၚ ႐ုိးဂုိးေက်း႐ြာအနီးတြင္ ေသနတ္ဒဏ္ရာျဖင့္ ေသဆုံးေနသည္ ကုိ ရဲစခန္းအေၾကာင္းၾကားခ်က္အရ သိရေၾကာင္း မြန္ျပည္သစ္အရာ႐ွိမ်ား ေျပာျပခဲ့သည္။

ႏုိင္မင္းေနာင္(ေခၚ) ေဒါက္တာမင္းေနာင္ BVS အသက္(၄၀) ခန္႔သည္ ႐ုံးတာဝန္အရ ေမာ္လၿမိဳင္ၿမဳိ႕႐ွိ ဘဏ္တခုတြင္ေငြထုတ္အၿပီး မုဒုံၿမဳိ႕နယ္၊ ကမာဝက္႐ြာေနအိမ္သုိ႔ တစ္ဦးတည္း ေမာ္ေတာ္ဆုိင္ကယ္စီး၍ ျပန္လာစဥ္ ေနာက္ေက်ာမွ 9-MM ပစၥတုိျဖင့္တစ္ခ်က္ အပစ္ခံရသည္ဟု ဆုိသည္။ continue