NY Times blocked in Thailand over king article
Bangkok — The local printer of the International New York Times decided not to publish Tuesday’s edition in Thailand because of an article on the future of the Thai monarchy that it called “too sensitive to print” in the country, where strict laws limit open discussion of the royal family.
The article, headlined “As Thai king ails, crown’s future unclear,” discussed the declining health of 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej and concerns about the monarchy’s succession. It was published on the front page of the paper’s Asia editions.
In an email sent to subscribers, the newspaper said the decision to block Tuesday’s edition was made by its Thailand-based printer.
“Today’s edition of the International New York Times was not printed in Thailand because it includes an article that our locally contracted printer deemed too sensitive too print,” the newspaper said.
“This decision was made solely by the printer and is not endorsed by the International New York Times,” it added, referring readers to its website where the Asia edition could be accessed online, as well as its smartphone and tablet apps.
Discussion of the monarchy is an extremely sensitive subject in Thailand, where strict lese majeste laws make criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in lese majeste convictions, which rights groups say is part of a wider crackdown on critics and dissent since the military seized power from a civilian government in May 2014.