Thai military raids anti-government radio stations
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Thai military raids anti-government radio stations

Naew Na reports that government officials from Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Crime Suppression Division (CSD), and the local police armed with a court order searched community radio stations which were in breach of the law, especially those stations that had not not received a license, which numbered 13 in total.  Seven were in Bangkok and six were in surrounding provinces. The officials are currently undertaking details checks and if they find any wrongdoing, they will seize such equipment together with bringing those responsible to be interrogated in various localities so that further legal action can be taken (ผู้สื่อข่าวรายงานว่า ชุดปฏิบัติการร่วมซึ่งประกอบกำลังจากกองอำนวยการรักษาความมั่นคงภายในราช อาณาจักร (กอ.รมน.) สำนักงานคณะกรรมการกิจการกระจายเสียง กิจการโทรทัศน์และกิจการโทรคมนาคมแห่งชาติ (กสทช.) กองบังคับการปราบปราม (บก.ป.) และตำรวจท้องที่ ได้นำหมายศาล กระจายกำลังกันเข้าตรวจค้นสถานีวิทยุชุมชนที่เข้าข่ายกระทำผิดกฎหมาย โดยเฉพาะสถานีวิทยุที่กระจายเสียงโดยไม่ได้รับอนุญาต จำนวน 13 แห่ง ซึ่งอยู่ใน กทม. 7 แห่ง และปริมณฑลอีก 6 แห่ง ทั้งนี้ เจ้าหน้าที่อยู่ระหว่างตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด ซึ่งหากพบการกระทำผิดก็จะยึดอุปกรณ์ที่เกี่ยวข้อง พร้อมกับนำตัวผู้รับผิดชอบ ส่งพนักงานสอบสวนแต่ละท้องที่ดำเนินคดีตามกฎหมายต่อไป).

BP: Sunai on Human Rights Watch tweets that it was ISOC, as mentioned above, and not DSI as some media outlets have mentioned, that were the lead agency for the raids. DSI Chief Tharit has also denied all knowledge of DSI involvement.

The Nation:

At least four community radio stations run by the red shirts were closed down as part of yesterday’s operation, according to a red shirt source.

These include the FM 105.40 community radio in Pathum Thani’s Lam Lukka district that was closed down yesterday for operating without a permit. The station’s broadcasting equipment was confiscated.

However, at the FM 89.85 Kon Thai Huajai Diew Kan station in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district, the police were confronted by some 300 red shirts who managed to prevent the police from entering the premises.

The station’s director, Somsak Lorphetrungruang, said that he did not resist a search by the police but that he would not allow the broadcasting equipment to be confiscated.

After about 90 minutes of confrontation, the police decided to leave the compound empty-handed, to the joy of the gathering red shirts.

The Bangkok Post:

A joint task force made up of officers from the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Crime Suppression Division as well as local police carried court warrants to the community radio stations and seized their equipment.

Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Prawuth Thawornsiri said Isoc had ordered police to take legal action against community radio stations which had broadcast a controversial April 10 speech made by Puea Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan, since he is facing lese majeste charges as a result.

Matichon quotes red shirts who had gathered to protest the arrests in Pathum Thani pointing out that it was a case of double standards because many other unlicensed community radio stations were able to operate and why were the authorities not take action against them (พร้อมต่อว่าถึงระบบการทำงาน ของเจ้าหน้าที่ชุดจับกุมที่ไม่ยอมดำเนินคดีกับสถานีวิทยุชุมชนรายอื่นอีก หลายสิบสถานีในจังหวัดปทุมธานี ล้วนไม่ได้รับอนุญาตเช่นกัน ถือเป็นการปฏิบัติ 2 มาตรฐาน).

BP: Although, why was there a need to seize communication equipment? Why not just arrest the person(s) who broadcast anything that was deemed illegal? Do you seize printing presses from a newspaper if a columnist writes something you don’t like? No. Now, community radio stations are in a form of legal limbo and have been for many years, but as you see from the Matichon reference, the authorities (and this is not a phenomenon as it happened under Thaksin too) selectively shut down radio stations that are unfavourable to the government of the time. Will there be outrage this time around though by fellow media outlets?

btw, Andrew has a post here which also includes a copy of the court order.

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