The Ministry of Communications is responsible for Thailand's public postal, telegraph, and telephone services. The postal service, employing both railway and air mail, operates from the central post office in Bangkok and covers the entire country. Telephone service now reaches the principal towns, with 5.6 million main telephone lines in use in 2000, of which over 70% were in metropolitan areas. In 2002, there were an additional 3.1 million cellular phones in use. Thailand is a member of INTELSAT and maintains trans-Pacific and Indian Ocean satellite communications stations.
Ownership of broadcasting is both public and private. There are about six government and military radio networks. The first mainland Asian television station was established in Bangkok in 1955. As of 1999, there were 204 AM and 334 FM radio stations, and 5 television stations. In 2000 Thailand had 235 radios and 234 television sets, and 33 mobile phones per 1,000 population. In 2000, there were 2.3 million Internet subscribers served by 15 service providers.
The first daily newspaper, the Siam Daily Advertiser, appeared more than a century ago. In 2002 there were at least 35 daily newspapers published in Bangkok, including seven in Chinese and four in English. The provinces have weekly and semiweekly publications, all in Thai, but no daily papers. Bangkok also has a variety of weekly and monthly periodicals, most appearing in
Thai. Among Bangkok's leading daily newspapers (with language and estimated 2002 daily circulation) were:
|Matichon Daily News||Thai||180,000|
|Khoa Sod Daily News||Thai||120,000|
|Phaya Crut Thai||100,00|
|Srinakorn Daily News Chinese||80,000|
|Sing Sian Yit Pao Chinese||70,000|
Citizens are said to enjoy constitutionally provided freedom of speech and a free press. However, the law prohibits criticism of the royal family, threats to national security, and insults to Buddhism.