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Ailing Thai media grow dependent on junta's financial support

Newspapers and TV networks struggle to maintain credibility

A man watches Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during his weekly TV broadcast in Bangkok.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thai broadcasters and newspapers, often regarded as feisty and at times political agenda setters, have become increasingly beholden to the military regime, with deepening financial woes stemming from the rise of online media making them dependent on the government to remain afloat.

In late May, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha invoked the special, all-powerful law he enjoys as leader of the ruling military junta to impose a debt moratorium on 20 financially-strapped digital TV stations to help them pay a combined amount of 4.8 billion baht ($145.5 million) in license fees to a nominally independent broadcasting regulator. 

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