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Thai PM

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Thai newspaper The Nation website on 16 January

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont admitted Wednesday [16 January] that his government is still in the dark about the leasing of a satellite channel by Thaicom to the Hezbollah-backed television channel al-Manar.

Surayud said his government had not been alerted by the US and Israeli officials regarding this.

He said he is still awaiting for more information from the Information and Communication Ministry.

But he said the government might not be able to interfere in the business of the private firm Thaicom.

The Australian Media reported on its website that the Lebanese channel has been picked up by the Thaicom, and is currently being broadcast across Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia.

The Israel-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre issued an alert regarding al-Manar, the Australian Media said.

The centre was quoted as saying "the broadcasts "compromised the efforts of the international community to limit the spread o! f Hezbollah's incitement programming".

Al-Manar is the mouthpiece of Hezbollah -or the Party of God -an Islamic Shia group formed in Lebanon in the mid-1980s to fight the Israeli occupation of Lebanon.

Source: The Nation website, Bangkok, in English 16 Jan 08



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