U.S. senator dismayed by Thai government

WASHINGTON (AFP): U.S. Senator Jesse Helms on Monday slammed the Thai government’s move to expel two reporters, warning that their deportation could cause Washington to rethink its aid to Thailand. “The Thai government’s decision to expel an American journalist and one from Great Britain is the most recent move toward authoritarianism in Thailand,” said Helms, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He noted that the “American alliance with Thailand has been mutually beneficial, which is why Congress has unfailingly supported economic and military aid to Thailand — including the huge IMF bailout in 1997.” But he warned that “this episode of attempted censorship may cause the U.S. to rethink its aid policies toward Thailand.” On February 22, reporters Shawn Crispin of the United States and Rodney Tasker of Britain appeared on a list of 46 foreigners whom Thai police said posed a threat to “national security” and faced arrest and deportation. The government threatened to expel the Bangkok-based journalists with the Far Eastern Economic Review over an article that touched on Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s strained relationship with the revered monarchy.

Phuket News

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