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Thai Government Blocks Station Linked to Ousted Prime Minister


Thailand's military-installed government scuttled the launch of a television station Thursday that is linked to supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The government's telecommunications agency blocked People's Television, or PTV, from relaying broadcasts through satellite and over the internet. The government says the station has not yet received permission to broadcast.

Former leading members of Mr. Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai political party founded the station in a bid to counter ASTV a station critical of the former prime minister.

Mr. Thaksin was ousted in a coup last September following widespread protests and allegations of corruption. The Thai government fears the exiled politician may be planning to return to power.

PTV executives say they will not give up and plan to distribute recordings of their broadcasts instead.

The ban is the latest attempt by the government to mute any lingering influence from Mr. Thaksin in Thailand. In early January, military coup leaders ordered the media to not report on Mr. Thaksin's movements or statements.

Thailand has also threatened to take control of a telecommunications company sold by members of Mr. Thaksin's family to Singapore in January 2006. The sale of Shin Corporation, which controls all satellite broadcasts to Thailand, outraged many Thais and led to months of street protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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