6 Mar 2007

Singapore and Thailand Situation Deteriorates

The station was once owned by Thaksin Shinawatra

Thailand TV station taken over

The Thai government has announced that it will take over the country's only main independent TV station, iTV, after it failed to pay unpaid fees.
The station was once owned by ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who sold it to Singapore-based firm Temasek in 2006.

The broadcaster had until Tuesday to pay nearly 100bn baht ($2.9bn) in fines and unpaid fees, after losing a legal battle.

But iTV had already admitted it had no hope of finding the money required.

The station - which has no links with the British broadcasting network of the same name - will be shut down temporarily from Wednesday.

The takeover was widely expected after the government announced last week that it would terminate iTV's licence if it failed to meet Tuesday's payment deadline.

"The iTV station will be shut down from 7 March until there is clarity on legal issues," said Dhipawadee Meksawan, a minister at the prime minister's office.

Shin Corp, which was founded by Mr Thaksin and held a 53% stake in iTV, was bought last year by the Singapore-based firm Temasek.

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