Thai Printer Refuses to Publish US Paper’s Article on Thailand

BenarNews Staff

2015-12-01
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151201-TH-NYT-1000 A white space in the middle of the front page of the International New York Times marks the spot where a printer declined to carry an article on Thailand, Dec. 1, 2015.
AFP

A gaping white space on the front page of the International New York Times greeted readers in Thailand as they picked up Tuesday’s print edition.

The newspaper’s Thai printer declined to publish an article that painted a dismal picture of Thailand’s economy and politics under its military-led government.

“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," read a notice in the middle of the white space beneath the main front page photo.

A second blank space appeared on an inside page where the article was to have spilled over, according to news reports out of Thailand.

The article, headlined “Thai Economy and Spirits Are Sagging,” had been published on Nov. 29 in online versions of the International New York Times, the global version of the award-winning American newspaper.

The piece, among other things, described a climate of fear in Thailand after the generals seized power from a civilian-led government in May 2014. It also touched on the junta’s restrictions on press freedoms and an escalation in royal defamation cases under Thailand’s lese-majeste law.

“It’s sensitive,” an official with the Eastern Printing Co., which publishes the International New York Times in Thailand, told the Associated Press.

“The printing company has the right to deny printing articles that touch upon inappropriate issues, according to the contract,” the official said.

There was nothing to indicate that the government was involved in the decision to pull the story, AP reported.

Later, the New York Times issued a statement on the missing article, saying it had been notified about the redaction.

“We understand the pressures local publishers sometimes face, but we regret any censorship of our journalism,” a spokesperson for the paper said, when reached by BenarNews for comment.

The article was the second New York Times story on Thailand to be censored in recent months. On Sept. 22, a local printer blocked the release of an edition that featured an article on the royal succession, according to the Atlantic magazine.

Last month, the Times also announced that it would stop printing its international editions in Thailand at the end of the year.

“Our decision to stop printing in Thailand was primarily a business one, made because of the rising cost of our print operation in the country,” the paper’s spokesperson said.

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