Updated: How much more censorship?

13 06 2010

Quite a lot more it seems. The Bangkok Post (13 June 2010) says that the authoritarian tendency of the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime knows few boundaries.

The Post reports that  hardline “Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and Sirichok Sopha, the prime minister’s secretary, flew to Singapore in mid-April as political protests were escalating to meet Temasek executives with two proposals…”. Like a Fascist politician, Korn reportedly asked the Thaicom satellite owner to prevent “the red shirt protesters’ People Channel (PTV) from broadcasting inappropriate programmes via Thaicom.” Apparently it was an offer Temasek could not refuse, and it sent the offer to the “Thaicom board, and subsequently the PTV broadcasts were blocked…”.

Like a Mafia godfather, Korn apparently made Temasek an offer. The “Thai government is proposing to buy Thaicom Plc from Singapore-based Temasek Holdings to avoid future conflicts stemming from the use of the company’s satellites to air anti-government broadcasts…”. The wording of the article is a little unclear: “Korn … ask[ed] Temasek if it would be possible for a Thai state enterprise, either MCOT or CAT Telecom, to take over Temasek’s indirect investment in the satellite operator.” Temasek’s response is not yet known.

Unsatisfied, it is reported that the “Thai government is still pursuing the idea under a government-to-government deal, which could result in changes in the terms for the remaining 12 years of Thaicom’s concession, or even a new satellite concession.” The idea is to make Thaicom effectively “a state enterprise and the government would find it easier to regulate satellite broadcasting.”

Temasek might like to offload Thaicom as the investment hasn’t been particularly easy to deal with and there have been numerous clashes with the military and post-coup governments. It is also an “industry is highly competitive with low margins.”

In other words, the implication of this story is that the Abhisit regime and its royalist backers are prepared to spend billions of taxpayers money to protect themselves and the monarchy. Censorship is tightening even further, and this authoritarian, military-backed regime wants to cut off all opposition media.

Update: Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a longish story on the proposed purchase of Thaicom and converting it into a state agency, meaning tighter censorship. It notes the Mafia-like offer that can’t be refused from a determined right-wing regime. The market price of Thaicom has increased but is still below its book value.



One response

23 06 2010
Korn on the witch hunt « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] is the parliament’s house subcommittee investigation into what is now being called “the Thaicom stock scandal.” See Bangkok Pundit for […]

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