Speed Reads

Blank space

Half of the New York Times' front page was printed blank in Thailand — on purpose

When Tuesday's edition of the International New York Times hit newsstands in Thailand, a front-page story on the country's economy was nowhere to be seen. In place of the article "Thai economy and spirits are sagging" was a blank white space. Page six — where the article was intended to continue — bore this message: "The article in this space was removed by our printer in Thailand. The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal."

The cover story reported that "Thailand is in a rut," with its households "among the most indebted in Asia," property crimes up 60 percent in the last year, and the public dissatisfied with the unelected leaders ruling the military junta-led country. "No one feels like smiling anymore," one merchant told The New York Times. "Life is so stressful. I don't know how to explain it, but it feels like nothing is working in Thailand anymore."

In Thailand, it is against the law to "criticize, defame, or insult members of the royal family," and dissenters can face jail sentences of up to 15 years on each count, The Guardian reports. The article's removal marks the second time this fall that the paper's local Thai printer blocked an article. The Sept. 22 Asia edition of the International New York Times was only partially published because it featured an article about Thailand's king's declining health.