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Government threatens legal action against community radio stations

(SEAPA/IFEX) - The Thai government will take legal action against community radio stations tagged as being used for political purposes, media reports said.

"The Nation" reported that Minister Satit Wangnongtaey of the Prime Minister's Office instructed the Public Relations Department's broadcasting sub-committee to look into the operations and broadcast messages of at least five community radio stations in Chiang Mai, Lam Phun, Udon Thani and Bangkok.

Satit said "these radio stations continue to instigate unrest. We must take up action."

He added that he will let the sub-committee decide what legal action to take against these radio stations. "Some of these stations use aggressive language."

Though Satit gave assurance that the government is not targeting supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, almost all of these radio stations are located in known bailiwicks under Thaksin's control.

According to the "Bangkok Post", the minister also called on the public to submit to the government recordings of broadcast messages of radio stations suspected of violating the constitution.

Earlier, Satit said the government would classify more than 7,000 community radio stations into different categories - such as commercial, political or community - to make monitoring and supervision easier.

The "Bangkok Post" reported that these community radio stations have been operating without proper licenses as the establishment of a regulatory body continues to be delayed.

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