Thailand silences TV station

Station taken off air for failing to pay 100 million baht in fees and fines.

    Many of ITV's 1,010 employees wept after the government's announcement [EPA]

    Apology

     

    Last week, the government said ITV would come under the control of the state broadcaster, which operates radio stations and the Thai news agency.

     

    "I would like to apologise. I always realise the importance of media. But there were legal issues and I have to stick to the law"

    Surayud Chulanont, Thai prime minister

    Surayud Chulanont, the Thai prime minister, apologised to a group of ITV reporters outside Government House for the decision to close the station down.

     

    "I would like to apologise. I always realise the importance of media. But there were legal issues and I have to stick to the law," he said.

     

    Dhipawadee said it would take a month for the government to decide the future of ITV, the country's third most popular television station.

     

    Tuesday's controversial decision, the latest in a line including the imposition of capital controls and a tightening of foreign business ownership laws, has fuelled fears of rising economic nationalism in post-coup Thailand.

     

    Keith Neruda, the head of research of UBS Securities in Bangkok, said: "The push to nationalise ITV is an unfortunate precedent that has increased the risk of investing in Thailand."

     

    ITV shares have been suspended from trading since Tuesday's announcement.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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