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Thai Printer Leaves Out NY Times Article on Thai Economy

  • VOA News

Front page of an Asian edition of the International New York Times has a blank space where the printer omitted sensitive content, Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 1, 2015.

Front page of an Asian edition of the International New York Times has a blank space where the printer omitted sensitive content, Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 1, 2015.

The International New York Times has blamed its printer in Thailand for removing an article on the country's stagnant economy and leaving a blank space on the front page.

The November 29 article headlined "Thai Economy and Spirits are Sagging," described a moribund economy, pessimism after years of political turmoil and succession concerns surrounding 87-year-old King Bhumibol.

Instead, parts of the front page and page six of the print edition were left blank and carried the message: "The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal."

An official at Eastern Printing, the Times Thai printer, told the Associated Press that "The printing company has the right to deny printing articles that touch upon inappropriate issues."

The official, who oversees the newspaper's account with the company, declined to give a name citing the matter as "sensitive."

Thailand's lese majeste laws make it a crime to criticize, defame or insult the monarchy.

This is second time in three months that the newspaper's local printer blocked an article about Thailand.

On September 22, Eastern Printing decided not to publish the entire newspaper because it featured a front-page article on the health of King Bhumibol.

Last month the International New York Times said it would cease printing and distributing its print edition in Thailand, by the end of the year, due to rising production costs.

Tuesday's article, still available to online readers, reports on the high debt of many Thai households, as well as, an increase in robberies and other property crimes that have risen more than 60 percent this year.

The story also touches on the low morale of those living in a country ruled by a military junta.

"Military rule now seems indefinite," the paper said. "And the army seems mostly preoccupied by its critics, detaining professors, politicians, journalists and students and subjecting them to what the junta calls 'attitude adjustment'."

It has also considered restricting Thailand's Internet to a single access point, which would make it easy to block online content that officials find objectionable.

The military government ousted the elected government in 2014. It says it will remain in power until at least mid-2017.

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