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Thailand's ITV to Continue Broadcasts, Despite Government Takeover

Thai officials say ITV, one of the country's few independent television stations, will continue to broadcast following a government takeover.

The move reverses a previous government decision to close the station Wednesday at midnight.

The Thai prime minister ordered the government's Public Relations Department to take over the station's operations under the new network name TITV, Thailand Independent Television and to continue broadcasting.

Thailand's military-installed government took control of ITV because the station has failed to pay nearly three billion dollars in license fees.

The latest decision was hailed by ITV employees and supporters even though it means the government owns the company.

ITV is controlled by Shin Corp, the former telecommunications company of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr. Thaksin's family sold Shin Corp to the Singapore government's investment company, Temasek, last year in a controversial deal.

Economic observers say the Thai government takeover of the private television station will further shake foreign investors' confidence in the country.

Investors recently have voiced concern about the military-installed government's economic policies and restrictions placed on foreign ownership of Thai companies.

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