July 22, 2010. Kathmandu. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, AMARC is deeply concerned by the reports about the restrictions imposed on community radio stations in Thailand including the closure of several stations. Recent reports state that using the emergency decree, authorities have shut down 26 community-radio stations in nine provinces and pressured six others to discontinue their services, and as many as 84 community-radio stations have been blacklisted and their activities closely monitored. It is further reported that at least 35 people related to these media outlets - like radio hosts, station chiefs and executives - are facing legal action for allegedly mobilising their listeners to the red-shirt rally in Bangkok, for broadcasting what was going on at the rally site and for distorting information. "However, there are no clear details to substantiate these charges," said the Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR) secretary-general Suthep Wilailert. He was reported to be speaking at a seminar about the fate of community radio stations under the state of emergency.
Article19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." As an advocate of fundamental human rights including the right to communication and information, and as the global network of community broadcasters, AMARC calls upon the Government of Thailand to ensure that community broadcasters are not harassed for the political views they hold. "Community radio stations speak on behalf of the people of the community and it is wrong to execute the messenger. I appeal to the Government of Thailand and the concerned authorities to not to arbitrarily oppress community broadcasters under any pretext," said Imam Prakoso, Vice President for South East Asia in the AMARC Asia Pacific Regional Board. Expressing concerns over the closure of the stations and legal actions underway against community broadcasters, he has called to uphold the internationally accepted rights of community radio stations to freely and independently broadcast views on political, social, and economical, as well as all other issues that concern the lives of the communities that the stations serve.
As the world's biggest broadcasting movement with more than 5,000 member community broadcasting stations and advocates worldwide, AMARC believes that democracy and social justice is only achievable when there is a free press.
AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighborhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Brussels, and Kathmandu. For more information,