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Laos Bans Thai TV and Videos in Public Places - 2004-05-28


Laos has banned all Thai television channels and videos from being shown in public places to prevent Thailand's cultural domination over the communist country.

The Laotian Ministry of Information and Culture issued the ban order on May 14 and it covers such places as airports, hotels, bus stations, restaurants and markets. The ministry's director of mass media Vanhthong Phonchanheuang said "it is not anti-Thai sentiment. Thai television and videos are not bad but we don't want to see their presence too much."

Due to close proximity of the two countries, language and culture similarities as well as Thailand more advance technology, Thai television is commonly viewed in Laos.

Thai TV programmes are more famous than the local programmes, which mainly consist of government propaganda broadcast via two national stations. The ban aims to pave the way for more Lao natinal television to be shown in public places.

The order does not bar individuals from watching Thai television and videos at home.

International television channels - including the BBC, CNN and French TV5 -are not prohibited from being shown in public places as the government accepts an international presence, Vanthong said.

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