High tension in Thailand – 2005

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Thai email forwards: Manager spoof ads - December 17, 2005

Spoof ads take digs at PTT, GSB and government spending - The Nation, December 10, 2005

80,000 turn up in park to hear critic's latest bombshells - The Nation, December 10, 2005
About 80,000 people attended "Muang Thai Rai Sapda" at Lumpini Park yesterday, almost double the number of attendance for the show two weeks ago. Some group-leaders of teachers protesting against the much-opposed school-transfer plan said on Thursday they expected some 30,000 teachers to attend the show, yet no such mass gathering of teachers was seen yesterday...


ANALYSIS: Expectations mount for Sondhi's Friday show - Thai Day, December 7, 2005

A tale of two newspapers: state of Sondhi lawsuits - December 6, 2005

LIBEL ACTION AGAINST SONDHI: PM's lawyers to axe suits - The Nation, December 6, 2005
Move follows advice from HM the King, likely to take edge off Sondhi's rally at Lumpini Park on Friday...
Call to drop lese majeste suits - Bangkok Post, December 6, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra should heed His Majesty the King's words and order the dropping of lese majeste charges against Sondhi Limthongkul, the media veteran's lawyer, Suwat Apaipak, said yesterday...

Supporting Sondhi could be criminal, MP warns - ThaiDay, December 4, 2005
...In a thinly veiled threat, Vichet Kasemthongsri, the party's deputy secretary-general, said that those who attend the Thailand This Week show-cum-political rally on December 9 may be enticed to commit an offence under Article 63 of the Constitution, which prohibits the overthrow of a constitutionally elected government through unconstitutional means...


The many brands of Thai journalism - The Nation, December 2, 2005
[Don't miss this interesting review of how the Thai media covers the PM.]
Manager Media Group - "radical journalism", "militant journalism", or "suicide-bomb journalism"
Thai Post or Naew Na - "dark journalism"
Thai Rath and Daily News - "comrade journalism"
Matichon - "I-won't-hurt-you-but-I-can't-guarantee-your-friends journalism" or "disillusioned journalism"
Nation Multimedia Group - "sceptical journalism"
Bangkok Post - "soft journalism"
Most TV channels - "fast-food journalism"
Samak Sundaravej and Dusit Siriwan- "dinosaur journalism"
iTV - "My TV journalism"


Tale of the master manipulator - The Nation, December 1, 2005

Thai humor: Thaksin celebrates - December 1, 2005
Poojadkuan jokes: Thaksin orders government house closed to cerebrate because there is no Thailand Weekly program this Friday. They will have a special menus such as tomyam tangtak (tangtak = to be broke), yam nong ngoohao, 'C-130 fall from heaven,' etc.
More Poojadkuan columns


Girl in the spotlight - The Nation, December 02, 2005
[Good profile of the co-host of Thailand Weekly]
She might not quite be Helen of Troy, whose beauty launched a thousand warships, but Sarocha Pornudomsak has seen her role transformed from television celebrity into a political heroine of sorts. The public perception of Sarocha is that she is a smart young woman, who has both beauty and brains...


The Nation's blood-drenched entry page - December 2, 2005
Another loony flash intro to go with the earlier Nation intro.

Almost like being there: In the overflow crowd at Thailand Weekly - November 30, 2005
A short film clip from last Friday's Thailand Weekly show (6.5MB) at Lumpini Park. This is part of a lamtad song used to warm up the crowds at the Thailand Weekly shows. The lyrics tease Samak Suntornwej who has a nose like "big rose apple" and Thaksin, "Mr. square face." Earlier parts of the song chided Suriya for his part in the airport scanner scandal.
Lamtad is a traditional type of song that often takes the form of a 'call-answer' where one person sings a line and then the other responds. The lyrics are often impromptu and insulting.


(Photo: The Nation)

Above: The Nation's odd animated entry page to promote their series of articles on Thaksin/Sondhi.

Media spotlight on Sondhi - November 30, 2005
[With Sondhi's next Thailand Weekly show not until December 9, the media is turning its gaze on Sondhi and his motives.]
The Truth about Thaksin, Sondhi - The Nation, November 29, 2005
The good old days - The Nation, November 30, 2005
STOPPAGE TIME: Sondhi, don't get too carried away with the fever - The Nation, November 30, 2005
...Maybe political fever is just like male-female courting. Samak successfully wooed us with straightforwardness but we got bored with his rigidity. We dumped Chamlong not because he bathed with just five bowls of water a day, but because we were afraid he would force us to do the same. Bhichit might just have become too unexciting.
Thaksin lured us with a promise of jewellery, while Sondhi is a handsome neighbour who comes and whispers, "Hey, he's cheating you. Please believe me because I'm the one who really loves you..."
A special note to Abhisit Vejjajiva: you will be the next source of such fever, mark my words. I just hope you don't rush to propose to the Thai people.


Thai humor: Why Thaksin can't hear - November 29, 2005
Poojadkuan jokes: The cause makes Maew goes deaf recently is not due to jetlag, but he has listened to the Thailand Weekly program for many weeks and is abused by Sonthi making his ears go deaf and he loses energy.


Armed forces chief puts coup d'etat rumours to rest - TNA, November 28, 2005
...Gen. Ruengroj was asked for his comments on a reported claim by an academic recently that some military officers had sought his advice on staging a new coup, citing their dissatisfaction with the government's performance.
"Even if there were military officers who wanted to stage a coup, they would never have sought advice from anyone outside their group, particularly an academic. The reported claim sounded unrealistic," said the armed forces chief...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Thailand Weekly - November 25, 2005
Above and below: Overflow crowds listen to the Thailand Weekly show at Lumpini Park.
"Self-exiled" Sondhi draws some 40,000 audience - The Nation, November 25, 2005
LUMPINI RALLY: Sondhi: Wissanu is a liar - The Nation, November 26, 2005
Sondhi broadcasts show from temple after 'threat on his life' - The Nation, November 26, 2005

Coup 'being considered' - The Nation, November 27, 2005
Some elements in the military are considering staging a coup and have been meeting with law experts over the past two months, Thammasat University law lecturer Kittisak Prokati claimed yesterday...


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

All eyes on Lumpini Park - November 25, 2005
All eyes will be on Lumpini Park today at 6pm as Sondhi holds his Thailand Weekly show. This week has been jittery with government figures fretting over coup rumors and what would happen if someone threw a bomb into Sodhi's supporters. On Thursday, the courts rejected an arrest warrant for Sodhi while the Army Chief vowed that "there will never be another coup d'etat in Thailand."
Many will be watching to see if the slow escalation of allegations of government misconduct will continue. For many, both inside and outside the government, this series of events is an exceedingly rare change to damage or even unseat Thaksin--although the power is really Thaksin's to lose. The PM's has, perhaps wisely, taken a vow of silence.

How hot are the allegations circulating on the Internet now? Wisarut explains the latest from Thaksin's arch-foe Ekkayuth's 'Thai Insider' website: Khun Ekkaytut has accused Phoomtham Wejchayachai (Mr. Fatso) as the one who is behind the creation of "Manusaya.com" and "Pulo.org" websites as the way to... pave the way for Premier Thaksin to become the First President of Thailand...

In response to rumours, Thai Army chief pledges 'no more coups' - TNA, November 24, 2005
...Army Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said that "A coup d'etat causes huge damage to the nation, so, I can say as long as I am still in office, there will never be any coup d'etat," the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army vowed.
Gen. Sonthi's remarks were in response to a reported claim by a government source that a group of military officers was attempting to stage a coup...


Court rejects arrest warrant for Sondhi - The Nation, November 24, 2005

Thai court amends gag order, lets foe criticise PM - Reuters, November 24, 2005
Thailand's Civil Court amended a gag order against a media tycoon on Thursday, saying the friend-turn-foe of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra could only take aim at the Thai leader's record since he took office...


POLITICAL TURMOIL: Coup talk hits market - The Nation, November 24, 2005
Stock prices fall as critics claim PM started rumours himself to divert attention from Sondhi. The government yesterday rushed to quell rumours of an impending coup d'etat but it was too late to stop the stock market from taking a plunge.
Government Spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee yesterday poured cold water on rebellion rumours but warned that a "third party" might try to take advantage of an anti-government rally tomorrow to stir up trouble...


Warrant sought for Sondhi - AP, November 23, 2005
A Thai police chief is seeking an arrest warrant for an outspoken publisher for invoking the name of the Thai king during a feud with Prime Minister Thaksin...


I smell coup odour: Phumtham - The Nation, November 22 , 2005
A move to topple the government may begin in the next two weeks, Deputy Transport Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said Tuesday...
"I've heard the gathering each Friday is a rehearsal for ousting the government. [That would mean] the gathering last Friday was their biggest rehearsal. I am very worried. Every party should be cautious, or the situation will worsen,'' he said...
"When there is a gathering of large crowds, what if someone throws a bomb at them and the violence spreads? It would be a tragedy,'' he said.


Political strife and accusations of misuse of aircraft - November 23, 2005

Revelations such as the alleged use of an Air Force plane for the Prime Minister's relatives are among the most damaging accusations of Thai politics. Misuse of aircraft has been a potent accusation that has embarrassed regimes of the past.

In 1973, during the Thanom dictatorship, a military helicopter crashed in Tung Yai park. Despite a variety of cover stories, it was discovered that officials had been using the helicopter to hunt endangered animals in a national park. The incident fed public distrust of the regime which was overthrown later the same year.

Just months before the 1992 Black May events, military aircraft were used to fly top junta generals to a lavish reunion of Class 5 military officers in Surat Thani. The generals had already been under fire for failing to fight corruption--one of the alleged reasons for the coup and were utterly inept at dealing with the press. Each of the major generals had a different excuse for the flights including Kaset's remark that "What's the use of a plane if we don't fly it?" As with the Tung Yai incident, this seemed to cement the public impression that those in power were using state assets as their own personal property.

The same public unease about aircraft for 'private use' fed the extended controversy over the purchase of an 'Air Force One' jet for the PM's use in Thaksin's first government.

So why are misuse of aircraft allegations so potent? Perhaps it comes from a notion that only Royalty are deserving of using aircraft for special purposes as they do humanitarian work in remote areas. Misuse of aircraft is also the kind of charge that is instantly understandable to even the poorest person who might not be moved by abstract graft charges or who might even see graft as expected behavior from those in power.


Book Review: The impurity of protest - by Ron Morris
Review of Democracy, Shaken and Stirred by Win Lyovarin and translated by Prisna Boonsinsukh
Winner of the SEA Write Awards 1997 and Thailand National Book Award 1995

[With protest and accusations of impure motives in the news it seems time for a review of Win Lyovarin's Democracy, Shaken and Stirred--a fascinating view of Thai political upheavals.]

Planets tell premier to gag himself - The Nation, November 21, 2005
It came as a typical Thaksin-style surprise yesterday when the Prime Minister informed the reporters on board the plane coming back from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in South Korea, that he would stop giving any interviews and refrain from offering any comments to the media until next year...


EDITORIAL: Shades of 'bad old days' for military
- The Nation, November 21, 2005
Generals' attempts to silence Sondhi threaten to undo efforts made to improve armed forces' reputation. Supreme Commander General Ruengroj Mahasaranond is presenting himself as the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time...


SONDHI CONFLICT: PM warned he has to back down
- The Nation, November 21, 2005
Democracy groups raise spectre of 1973 and 1992 bloodshed as they urge Thaksin to put an end to roiling dispute...

Thai PM talks lunacy as political storms brew - The Age, November 21, 2005
[A rather negative headline...]
Blame it on the moon. Thailand's Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, does. From byelection defeats and a vocal opponent who refuses to be gagged to threats of the military getting back into politics, the recent run of bad publicity has taken a significant sheen off his premiership...


SIDELINES: Thaksin's final day of reckoning looms - The Nation, November 19, 2005
...His wife and members of his inner circle will have to come up with counter strategies quickly, before next Friday, if possible. If they cannot stop Sondhi and he draws an even larger crowd, there will be hell to pay for Thaksin and his political future will be in grave doubt as well...


CONFRONTATION: It's all a plot to topple the govt - TRT - The Nation, November 19, 2005
Party spokesman says opposition seems to be backing Sondhi's actions. Thai Rak Thai party spokesman Sita Devari yesterday alleged that the actions of media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul over the past two months were part of a plot backed by opposition parties to topple the government.
Sita said any claim that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was competing with royal power was unfounded...


ANALYSIS: The enigma that is Sondhi Limthongkul - The Nation, November 19, 2005
...Sondhi's criticisms of Thaksin must be taken with a pinch of salt, for during most of the first four years of the administration it was Sondhi's Phujadkarn (Manager) daily which was arguably amongst the staunchest of pro-Thaksin newspapers.
...Surely Sondhi's U-turn earlier this year is food for much thought as to why, and why now. Another controversy is the media mogul's tactic of citing the monarchy in his criticism of Thaksin, which some feel is a regressive tactic as democracy should not invoke input from the King who is above politics. While many people have criticised Thaksin over the years, Sondhi's reference to the King must have touched a nerve among many loyal subjects...

Thai emails forwards - November 21, 2005
You will likely find this email in your inbox this morning if your address or website is realted to Thailand. It is a link to various methods of finding content from Manager including a link to the Manager's pledge to "return the mandate of country's ruling back to the King"
More Thai email forwards

Ban on talk show appears to backfire - Move upsets people, piques their curiosity - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
The Public Relations Department's ban on the Thailand Weekly political talk show on all cable television channels upset many people who missed the chance to watch the show, broadcast live from Lumphini Park in Bangkok yesterday. But it also increased their curiosity...


Sondhi will fight website, TV threats - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
Manager daily founder Sondhi Limthongkul will seek protection from the Administrative Court following reports that the Manager website would be closed down, and cable television in the provinces had been ordered to stop broadcasting his Thailand Weekly talk shows...

Thaksin to take Sondhi to court again - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will take media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul to court with a defamation lawsuit again next week, the second in two weeks and the fourth in three months, his lawyers said yesterday...


Top brass warn off Manage founder - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
..."One day when we can no longer tolerate this, we will have to do something. But I cannot yet tell what it is," Supreme Commander Gen Ruengroj Mahasaranont said yesterday...

Visanu denies lese majeste claims - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
...Mr Visanu said the government first sent an official letter to the Bureau of the Royal Household asking for royal permission to use the chapel on March 30, but the Bureau said it needed to send the request to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary. The government received a faxed reply from the Office on April 9 that His Majesty the King had granted his permission.
However, he said, the letters had no reference numbers because they are "express letters sent by fax machines"...


MCOT goes silent on the news of the day - November 19, 2005
While not exactly incisive news, government news MCOT has been been at least mentioning both pro and con government events throughout the Thaksin governments. In a sign of how hot the political situation has become, English MCOT/TNA has notably gone silent concerning the political pressure being put on the government by Sondhi (below).
First MCOT article referring to the recent political turmoil: Military leaders: Armed forces will stay out of politics - TNA, 12:38pm, November 19, 2005
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has called for unity in the country, promising that the military will stay away from politics and will not conduct any coup d'etat...

Sondhi talk show draws 50,000 - Bangkok Post, November 19, 2005
More than 50,000 people braved the rain last night, packing Lumpini park to listen to firebrand media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, who has continued to host his Muang Thai Rai Sapda (Thailand Weekly) talk show after it was taken off TV Channel 9 after its relentless criticism of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...


CASE: collision course - The Nation, November 19, 2005
Anti-Thaksin rallies grow as frustrations threaten to boil over. Political tempers rose to near the boiling point yesterday when the military, kept at bay from politics since 1992, issued a veiled threat to leading anti-government critic Sondhi Limthongkul, who responded with an explosive allegation concerning one of the prime minister's sisters, Monthatip Kovitcharoenkul...
Speaking at Lumpini yesterday, Sondhi compared the Monthathip incident to the Thungyai Naresuan scandal which helped to trigger the 1973 popular uprising that toppled the dictatorial Thanom regime. The scandal involved use of military helicopters in a hunting spree by government and military officials...


Modern media subverts Sondhi ban - The Nation, November 19, 2005
...Satellite cable TV and the Internet are a far cry from the microphones and loud speakers of the 1970s and the mobile phones of the early 1990s. In 1973, during the student uprising that toppled the Thanom-Prapas regime and ushered Thailand into a modern era of democracy, Thammasat University was the pre-eminent political theatre, linked to the vast field of Sanam Luang and Rajdamnoen Road. Then microphones and loudspeakers were the simple tools that progressive students like Thirayuth Boonmee and Seksan Prasertkul spoke through to agitate the tens of thousands against the military dictatorship. These rudimentary tools were effective enough to convey the appealing message for democracy and triggered hundred of thousands of people to take the demonstrations to Rajdamnoen Road. The Thanom-Prapas regime collapsed eventually. In 1992, during the pro-democracy movement launched by Maj-General Chamlong Srimuang against the Suchinda regime, mobile phones made their appearance for the first time. Middle-class Thais communicating with each other through the mobile phones took part in the pro-democracy movement in support of Chamlong. They were dissatisfied with the dictatorship regime of General Suchinda Kraprayoon. Suchinda lost the battle to what has come to be known as the "mobile phone mob"...


MILITARY WARNING: A not so veiled threat for Sondhi - The Nation, November 19, 2005
Top brass attacks media tycoon, telling him not to use monarchy in his criticism. Supreme Commander General Ruengroj Mahasaranond yesterday issued a dire warning, saying government critic Sondhi Limthongkul should stop invoking the monarchy or else face the full wrath of the military...


Supreme commander warns Sondhi to shut up - The Nation, November 18, 2005
Supreme Commander Gen Ruengroj Mahasaranond gave a stern warning that the armed forces will take action if Sondhi Limthongkul of Manager Media Group did not stop involving monarchy in his criticism on the premier.
"Our patience is reaching the breaking point. We may take action if Sondhi does not cease his criticism by citing the monarchy," Ruengroj said.
Ruengroj said Sondhi's actions have sabotaged national security and caused divisiveness.
The stern warning came two days after Maj General Prin Suwannathat, commander of the 1st Infantry Division of the Royal Guard called for Sondhi in a letter to stop inappropriately citing the monarchy while attacking Thaksin.


Events of the day - The Nation, November 18, 2005
...5:00pm: Rain start to fall at Lumpini Park. Sondhi's audience, who cannot go inside the building, remain under the rain outside monitoring the show from close-circuited TVs.

5:30 pm: The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) issues a statement, saying it is gravely troubled by the government's actions against Sondhi. It says a growing intolerance for criticism and heavy-handed actions by the government amount to severe intimidation of the press in general.

6:00 pm: A spokeswoman of the event warns the audience not to retaliate if intimidated by certain people.

7:05 pm: During the talks show, Sondhi shows a copy of letter of the permanent secretary for Defence, which allowed a sister of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to use a C-130 military plane to transport guests to a merit making ceremony for her new house in Chiang Mai.

8:30 pm: Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam goes on Channel 11 to explain that the government had the Royal approval to hold the merit-making ceremony at the Temple of Emerald Buddha in April.

At the Thailand Weekly talk show, Sondhi leads his staff to sign name to make a petition to His Majesty, saying they want to return the mandate of country's ruling back to the King.

THAKSIN VS SONDHI: Gagged! - The Nation, November 18, 2005

'Vague' order
- translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek, November 17, 2005
A report from the TRT party about a current the authority ordered the Communication Authority of Thailand as the status of state enterprise responsible for Thailand's internet service and ISP to cut off the website link for Manager so people cannot visit online tomorrow... The lawyer of Thaksin asked the court for power to ban the website from broadcasting content that damages Thaksin. This continues to be part of slander case where the PM sued Sonthi Limthongkul, of Manager and Thailand Weekly. The order supposedly is to stop some part of website from being viewed. But Manager contends on the website that the order is vague making people get confused despite the fact that Manager is already following the court order for a while.
MPs and Ministers of TRT refuse to comment, but just say that it is a court order and not related to the party.

No right to close website and no order yet
- translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek, November 17, 2005
The National Committee of Telecommunication said the situation of the law is a gap and that there is no right to close the websites except if it is illegal-moral. Meanwhile the ISP said there has not yet been any document or order from every organization to close the Manager website. If there is formal order from the related organizations, the ISP must inform the customer.


Plea from Manager Online
- translated and summarized from Manager Online, November 17, 2005
Urgent! The court orders to shut Sonthi’s mouth and not spread the VCDs of "Thailand Weekly." Thaksin sent the lawyer to sue Sonthi and his team (10 people) to be defendants in the case of transgressing and asking 1000 million baht for damages and also asking a temporary protection order.

Plea from Manager Online - translated and summarized from Manager Online, November 17, 2005
Urgent! The power person ordered the Communication Authority of Thailand Company Ltd. to close the Manager website tomorrow.



Manager website to be blocked - November 17, 2005
The Nation reports: The Web site of The Manager daily (www.manager.co.th) may not be accessed from Friday. The site says the Cat Telecom Plc was ordered by the government to block access to the site, which has been a vocal against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...

Retired officer charged Thaksin with lese majesty - The Nation, November 17, 2005

Complaint accuses PM, Visanu of lese majeste - Bangkok Post, November 18, 2005
A former chief aide-de-camp to His Majesty the King has filed a complaint with police accusing Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Deputy Prime Minister Visanu Krue-ngarm of lese majeste. The complaint was lodged with Phra Ratchawang police yesterday by Gen Kittisak Ratprasert, who was accompanied by lawyer Chumpol Sangthong and Ekkayuth Anchanbutr, chairman of Britain-based Oriental Mart Group, who is known to be at odds with Mr Thaksin...

Court issues gag order on Sondhi
- The Nation, November 17, 2005
The Civil Court Thursday issued a gag order on Sondhi Limthongkul, the owner of The Manager, as well as all of his publications from criticising Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The gag order was issued against Sondhi and 11 other associates. The publications under the ban included Thai Day, The Manager daily and his electronic media, such as video CDs, and Internet publication.
..

PM sues Sondhi for another B1bn - Bangkok Post, November 18, 2005
Media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, his media firms and executives are facing another civil lawsuit by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra demanding one billion baht in damages, and also a court restraining order telling them to stop making defamatory remarks about Mr Thaksin. The Civil Court yesterday accepted the lawsuit, filed by Mr Thaksin's lawyer Thana Benjathikul, against Thaiday Dot Com Co, its executives Supachai Wongworachaset, Jittanart Limthongkul, Patchara Samudavanija and Khunthong Lorserivanich, Thailand Weekly talk show programme co-hosts Mr Sondhi and Sarocha Porn-udomsak, Manager Media Group Plc and executives Saowalak Thiranujanyong and Panjapat Angkhasuwan, demanding one billion baht in compensation...

For criticizing PM Thai general confronts newspaper publisher - INQ7.net, November 16, 2005
A Thai army general in full uniform marched into the office of a newspaper publisher on Wednesday and handed over a personal letter telling him he shouldn't criticize Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...

Thai Rak Thai MP wants ICT to take action against The Manager's Web site - The Nation, November 17, 2005
...Wichit Plungsrisakul, chairman of the Thai Rak Thai's legal working committee, said the website had been publishing a picture of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra inside the Temple of Emerald Buddha for weeks and allowed the people to make comments against the prime minister under the picture...

Taking Sondhi's message to the South - November 16, 2005
Mr. John writes: Leaflet for "Network of Freedom Media for People" (left) invites Hadyai people to watch the program Muang Thai Rai Sapda or Thailand Weekly that broadcasts on TV by satellite ASTV of News 1. From this they can listen to the different sides of the news after the program was removed from MCOT Channel because it critiqued the government work frankly....

Translated from Manager Online: The Public Relations Department sent a letter warning cable TV operators in network of the Public Relations Department not to spread the "Thailand Weekly" program of Sondhi. It threatens if they do so the Public Relations Department will not continue or cancel the contract with the operator.

PM's Office dismisses report as spurious - The Nation, November 11, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra did not impinge on royal prerogatives when he presided over a religious ceremony last April at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha as a newspaper report had alleged, the PM's Office said yesterday.
In a statement, the office dismissed charges published on Wednesday by the Phujadkarn newspaper. It had claimed that Thaksin, as a commoner, had flouted venerable convention by allowing himself to preside over a ceremony in Thailand's holiest temple, a prerogative traditionally reserved for members of the Royal Family.
...Phujadkarn is owned by media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, a fierce critic of Thaksin who routinely lambastes the PM on his TV show "Muang Thai Rai Sapda" ("Thailand Weekly").

Premier had 'approval from King' - The Nation, November 10, 2005
Cabinet secretary-general Bovornsak Uwanno said yesterday that His Majesty the King granted permission to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to preside over a grand merit-making ceremony at the revered Temple of the Emerald Buddha last April, for which the premier was later heavily criticised...
Bovornsak's comments were the government's first public address on the widely discussed issue. Circulating on the Internet is a copy of a letter sent to the Manager Daily in May, which criticised Thaksin's role in the ceremony.
The merit-making event called "The National Religious Relations for Reconciliation" took place on April 10. Dressed causally, Thaksin occupied a chair placed at a spot customarily reserved for the ceremonial seat of His Majesty.
The letter said in part: "People are familiar with images only of the King and members of the Royal Family, all dressed in royal uniforms and decorated with full regalia, presiding over grand ceremonies in the temple's main chapel. Yet this picture [of Thaksin there] makes me think: What has happened to our country?"...

Thai humor: People oversleep and miss the PM's broadcast - November 8, 2005
Poojadkuan jokes: The recent poll result show the rating of "PM Meets the People" program on Saturday morning is suddenly down, because people go out to listen to the "Thailand Weekly" program at Lumpini Park on Friday night making people wake up late and miss the PM's program.
More Poojadkuan columns

Small bomb sends warning to Thai publisher - UPI, November 4, 2005
Tossing bombs into walled compounds of businesses or prominent people is a long-standing form of intimidation although it has been awhile since this form of 'expression' has been in the news.
...The bomb was tossed Thursday night into the courtyard of the Manager Media Group, which publishes the English-language ThaiDay and the Thai-language Manager Daily newspapers, the South China Morning Post reported Friday...

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