Another radio station shut after airing ex-PM's interview
The Public Relations Department (PRD) yesterday shut down another community radio station that aired a live telephone interview with ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Wednesday night.
A group of PRD officials and police officers raided the station, FM 92.75, in Bangkok's Chatuchak district in the early afternoon and ordered its staff to stop broadcasting as they were "operating illegally".
Programme host Shinawat Habunpard, and the station's director, Pansak Zabu, were arrested for allegedly broadcasting without permission.
Shinawat told the officials their transmitter had broken down four days ago, forcing the broadcasting to be terminated. However, he continued hosting the programme through the website, www.shinawatradio.com. Shinawat is not related to the former prime minister.
FM 92.75 was shut down one day after community radio station FM 87.75 was ordered off the air for the same reasons, interviewing Thaksin and operating illegally.
The PRD said the FM 87.75 case was part of its crackdown on more than 3,000 community radio stations nationwide.
Officials had already closed 22 community radio stations in Nonthaburi because they used illegal frequencies and interfered with aviation communications.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva denounced the government yesterday, saying it was wrong to crack down on all community radio stations because a few of them had put Thaksin on the air.
The officials should distinguish among them [on the basis of good intentions], otherwise it is a violation of people's rights, he said. Moreover, Abhisit believed the crackdown could benefit Thaksin.
Charan Dithapichai, a National Human Rights Commission member, said the community radio stations had a right to interview Thaksin. If they broke the law, the government should take legal action against them, he said, but it was not right to close them under the guise of security.