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Security forces crack down on anti-government radio and TV stations

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Thai authorities are going after pro-Thaksin broadcast stations. Police raided three radio stations and a TV station, seizing equipment and arresting personnel, media reports said.

The "Bangkok Post" also reported that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) ordered all community radio stations to refrain from broadcasting messages that might cause political unrest, on pain of facing closure.

Police raided a radio station in Chiang Mai province operated by the group Rak Chiang Mai 51, known for supporting former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Transmission equipment was seized even as some 200 Red Shirts gathered outside the radio station to protest.

In the northeastern province of Udon Thani, police also confiscated transmission equipment from a radio station run by Kwanchai Praipana, leader of the pro-Thaksin group Khon Rak Udon. Wachira Khamsueb, a radio host for the station, was arrested and charged with broadcasting without a license. He was later released on bail. Meanwhile, a hundred members of the Khon Rak Udon protested in front of the police station.

Another radio station sympathetic to the Red Shirts (pro-Thaksin activists), this time in Lampang province, was also raided.

On 16 April 2009, some 30 policemen entered the premises of DStation at the Imperial Department Store in Lad Phrao, Bangkok. The police found none of the TV station's staff. They seized several broadcasting devices. The Red Shirts had used DStation to broadcast Thaksin's speeches as well as to provide news coverage of the Red Shirt demonstrations.

Troops on 13 April seized control of the Thaicom satellite station in Lat Lum Kaew, Pathum Thani province, which is used by DStation.

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