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Thai printer refuses to print New York Times over article on king

BANGKOK — The local printer of the International New York Times decided not to publish Tuesday’s edition in Thailand because of an article on the future of the Thai monarchy that it called ‘‘too sensitive to print’’ in the country, where strict laws limit open discussion of the royal family.

The article, headlined ‘‘As Thai king ails, crown’s future unclear,’’ discussed the declining health of 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej and concerns about the monarchy’s succession. The story, published on the front page of the newspaper’s Asia editions, was written by its Bangkok-based correspondent.

In an e-mail sent to subscribers, the newspaper said the decision to block Tuesday’s edition was made by its Thailand-based printer.

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‘‘Today’s edition of the International New York Times was not printed in Thailand because it includes an article that our locally contracted printer deemed too sensitive too print,’’ the newspaper said.

‘‘This decision was made solely by the printer and is not endorsed by the International New York Times,’’ it added, referring readers to its website where the Asia edition could be accessed online.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper in London confirmed the information, but had no further comment.

Self-censorship is common among the media in Thailand, where discussion of the monarchy is extremely sensitive because strict lese majeste laws make criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Foreign publications are sometimes affected, most notably The Economist magazine, which several times in recent years has not been sold or sent out by its Thai distributor when it has carried critical content.