The military junta ruling Thailand has come under new attack by domestic human rights organizations and international journalists groups after it censored CNN's broadcast of an interview with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra conducted in Singapore. A spokesman for the Human Rights Committee of Thailand called the censorship "a freedom of expression blockade." In New York the Committee to Protect Journalists also issued a statement condemning the action. During the interview Thaksin denied claims by the junta that his supporters were responsible for a series of bombings that rocked Bangkok on New Year's Eve. He also said that he planned to quit politics and return to civilian life. Last week the Thai government ordered local broadcast stations not to air any statements by Thaksin. Today's (Wednesday) Bangkok Post and The Nation, the two leading English-language newspapers, reported that the government also shut down access to CNN's and the BBC's websites. "The irony was that neither featured any news of the Thaksin interview, although numerous other websites did," the Post said. In the interview Thaksin also said that when he was informed that a coup was taking place while he was in New York last Sept. 19, he attempted to go on Thai television to address the country but was unable to do so. He remarked that he didn't "believe that this can happen again in the 21st century." In Thailand viewers saw still photos of Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz in place of the CNN interview.




17/01/2007