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Thai channel pulls political sudser

Gov't denies hand in spiking 'Nua Mek 2'

BEIJING — Thai auds are furious as one of the most popular sudsers in the Southeast Asian nation was canceled with three episodes to go for what many critics believe were political reasons.

“Nua Mek 2” tells the story of a fictional prime minister, his crooked deputy and a necromancer, who performs black magic and tries to manipulate political events, the Bangkok Post reported. In the series, the prime minister dies and his body is possessed by a necromancer.

Produced by Chatchai Plengpanich and helmed by Nonzee Nimibutr, the program made its debut on Dec. 14. Originally 12 episodes were scheduled, but the final three episodes were rolled into one episode, which was due to screen on Friday and Saturday.

However, at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, Channel 3 ran a message on-screen saying it would not screen the skein because it contained “inappropriate” content, and would be replaced with a romantic drama.

Some online pundits see the show as a satire on the current government of Yingluck Shinawatra, who is the sister of deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin, who lives in exile after being convicted of corruption, has described his sister as his “clone.”

Among the events featured in “Nua Mek 2” are murky dealings surrounding a government satellite contract. Thaksin was involved in a satellite company, Thaicom.

There have been widespread calls for Channel 3 to keep showing the series, and some are calling the ban on the show unconstitutional.

A spokesman for the ruling Pheu Thai party denied the government had anything to do with Channel 3’s cancelation of the skein.

“But we should be aware that people will always associate any soap operas with a political storyline with the current government in any period of time,” he said.

“There is no reason for the political side to pressure the media to stop this broadcast because a soap opera is just a soap opera.”

Some are getting desperate. The Channel 3 website was hacked by a soap opera fan who posted the message “Where is my Nua Mek 2?” across the homepage.

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