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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 11:42 GMT
Magazine apologises to Thailand
Journalists Rodney Tasker of Britain (L) and Shawn Crispin of the US
Both FEER journalists were put on an immigration blacklist
A Hong Kong-based magazine has apologised to Thailand over an article which led to the authorities ordering the expulsion of two of its journalists.

The Far East Economic Review (FEER) said a 10 January article, which alleged tension between Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had never been intended to "generate any adverse commentary concerning Thailand's highest institution".

The Economist will stand by its independent, objective and free reporting

Economist executive Peter Bakker
The written apology came as police ordered another magazine, The Economist, to remove an article which contained a section dealing with the monarchy from its website.

The monarchy is still revered in Thailand, and local reporting of the royal family is always restrained and respectful.

But the authorities have come under criticism over the dispute with the FEER amid fears it might try to bar journalists critical of the government.

FEER's written apology
FEER's written apology: "We most sincerely apologise"
The two FEER journalists, Rodney Tasker from the UK, and US citizen Shawn Crispin, have been placed on an immigration blacklist, accused of posing a threat to national security.

The move followed the publication of an article on 10 January headlined "A Right Royal Headache".

The letter of apology, addressed to the president of Thailand's National Assembly, Uthia Pimchaichon did not say the story was inaccurate.

Thai police spokesman Major General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said on Monday: "We are very pleased with the apology but the legal processes have to continue."

Internet demand

The Economist magazine has also fallen foul of Thai sensitivities with its 2 March edition, which contained a special survey on Thailand.

The magazine agreed on Saturday not to distribute the issue in Thailand after police told them it would be banned and seized. But The Economist's Asia circulation director, Peter Bakker, said the offending survey would be made available free on the company's website.

Major General Pongsapat said the Thai authorities would check the website and if the article was found, the police would ask for it to be removed.

Mr Bakker said he doubted the magazine would comply with such a request.

"The web is a world-wide institution, available to everyone," he said.

"We have refrained from circulating the hard copy, but The Economist will continue to stand by its independent, objective and free reporting."

See also:

27 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand warns US over journalists
25 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand expels two journalists
09 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Magazine ban sparks Thai censorship fears
31 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand's new style of leader
23 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Thai King celebrates record
28 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Thais banish Anna and the King
05 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Last chance for Anna and the King
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