Thai Envoy on Unrest, Recovery and Censorship

BY Hari Sreenivasan  June 11, 2010 at 3:45 PM EST

The government of Thailand, recently in the news for political unrest and protests, has dispatched its president of the Thailand Trade Representative’s Office, Kiat Sittheeamorn, as an envoy of the prime minister. He’s on a mission to assure the world that Thailand is back to normal and open for business.

In an interview, Kiat alluded to associations between the protests on the streets and connections to funding from the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but declined to specify the evidence, citing the ongoing investigation.

Kiat also made some comments about Google that took the interview into an unexpected exchange about freedom of speech. Take a look:

According to Google, their search engine was not shut down in Thailand. They are aware of a disruption of service to some Google Apps, but according to a spokesman in Washington D.C., service was resumed when Google pointed it out to a foreign minister.

News from Thailand in the past few months, sometimes dissolves into a series of videos of protestsers in Red Shirts, and others in Yellow shirts, intermingled with police and military on the streets of downtown Bangkok. My colleague Larisa Epatko has been covering these stories for a while now so check out some of her work for context into the bloody protests, the rising tensions and failed negotiations which led to the street battles almost a month ago.