Buddhist Monks Banned from Commenting on Government on State Radio

July 18, 2004

Source: Yahoo! News

Wire Service: AFP


On July 18, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "Thailand's government has banned the country's Buddhist monks from mentioning Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's administration on state-radio airwaves, it was reported. The muzzle order came after a monk used a radio sermon to indirectly criticise the ruling party's plan to build a casino in the kingdom, Radio Thailand officials told the Nation Newspaper. 'Some monks are critical of the government, and the powers that be are not happy with such criticism,' a station official was quoted as saying. Thai rights campaigners said the move -- which involves the establishment of a committee to monitor all Buddhist sermons on state-radio -- was going too far. 'It is nonsense to gag monks. Even military dictators refrain from meddling in religious affairs,' Suriyasai Katasila, from The Campaign for Popular Democracy, told the daily. Thaksin has drawn fire in the past from media advocacy groups who allege a government campaign is under way to muzzle the local press through financial coercion and intimidation. This is the first time the country's saffron-robed monks have been gagged by the current administration."