Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

Heat is felt by Propaganda players


wow !  only today there were so many similar posts on other blogs !

Read related blogs :


The first casualty

Bangkok’s first casualty of political war

The army on deaths of red shirts

Violence and the media

More Than 30,000

The Media Battle

Are we witnessing a huge propaganda operation ?

Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

Cyber-thought crime in Bangkok and Rangoon

I recommend to read all those posts and articles  to grasp the scale of the Media war which is evidently underway.

Apparently there are a lot of people who feel the same way:  that Thai media are not only biased, but also played a large role in the recent events, and yet continue to play even larger role in NOT helping, but making things worse by their continuing  PROPAGANDA  of the “Official Truths”, and whatever half-truths, as well as all sorts of dishonest fallacious spins  to over-simplify everything to look like :

1) oh, this monster Thaksin who paid his supporters to do violence.

2) oh, those stupid Reds (“khon ban-nork” / rurals)  – who have no any brains and only are able to do violence because Thaksin paid them.

In fact, THIS very moment (9.20 pm) as I am writing this post  – on NBT channel there is some sort of discussion going on by few reporters, and guess WHAT is their main subject? MEDIA’s role in Thailand !  basically they are trying to defend themselves from the increasing critisims by Thai public and justify their style, and that people are unfair and should believe what media says. WOW !  see what I told you? 😀

Since I can’t see so far anyone else on those blogs has mentioned it yet – I feel it is important to notice the  penomena among Thais on  Thai language websites, blogs, forums and discussion boards:  emerging activists group called perhaps too naively “Cyber Warriors“.  these are the people who are what is generally known in the West as “Netizens”  (aka “Citizens of the net” or internet – a community who consider themselves beyond simple georgraphical, political, national and social borders), however Thai “Cyber warriors” are more exactly those who particularly try to rebel against the “Matrix” of  Propaganda. As I know, some sort of campaign of  “info-wars” started on Thai Forums even before the tragic events of  “Black Songkran 2009″ (Apr 8-15 ?) . These people at large are NOT Thaksin’s supporters – but nevertheless sympathizers of  Reds in their anti-Establishment cause for more Freedom and real Democratic liberties and particularly they’ve emerged as opponents of the PAD followers, to sort of  “fight on net” – thus the name “Cyber warriors”.

So, Thai public is actually very well aware and unfortunately greatly polarized (with PAD and pro-government supporters on one side and others increasingly aligning with Reds, even if they dislike Thaksin). And although “Cyber warriors” are still no match for PAD’s activists (who are mostly “hi-so” and middle-class Urban dwellers, especially Bangkokians, well-to-do and therefore accordingly certainly bigger percent of them are better educated, worldly AND have a much better use of Internet, youtube and other social network websites etc.)   – still, the fact is that there is a STEADY strong increasing  effort to counter-act the HUGE  Propaganda campaign unleashed by PAD last year (well, actually more correct would be – since 2006) during their protests, as well as the “Official truths”  so methodically and consistently  being pushed by government.

Both PAD’s and government’s  propaganda campaigns are still TOO GIGANTIC for those “Cyber warriors” to match and even to confront, what to speak – defeat.

However it doesn’t discourage them at all.

So, perhaps it is useful to at least attempt to examine the  3 MAIN players in the Propaganda underway in Thailand.

(sorry, it’s perhaps too hasty and too superficial – but  at least an attempt)

PAD’s propaganda has to be mentioned separately – because it is a big force in itself, and quite different from other 2, to the extent of being almost sort of  “fundementalist”. Also they are well organized and equipped and sponsored and therefore do not depend on other 2 but are able to stand alone on their own: they even have their own TV channel ASTV, their on-line websites, their own magazines and newspapers – and definetely a large congregation (I think this word is suitable here – as in some sort of Religious Cult).  It is too radical (or even fanatical) and often too fallacious and too inconsistent – I think mostly it is a reflection of Thai Generals, old fashioned Elite and beaurocrats, who are still living in the past by old ideas and slogans which so far has sucessfully helped them to keep the sheeple” (modern internet term:  sheep + people = sheeple, meaning the herds of people who meakly been lead even to their slaughter)  in their pens.

Although there are some ideologists among them as Suriyasai and many ajarns – still, most of them shamelessly employ all sorts of PURPOSEFUL and INTENTIONAL  fallacies and demagoguery too easy to  recognise and expose by anyone who just give it a try (their favorite is – Demonization ! 🙂  ) – well, I guess Thai Ajarns and intellectuals simply don’t want to (but we’ll come later to that regarding – WHY ?) .  Another VERY characteristic  feature of PAD’s propaganda – is extremely hateful and abusive, quite often bluntly obsenepersonal attacks (another typical fallacy well known among shrewd people as “argumentum ad hominem” – cheap and dirty trick ! ) and even threats of physical harm on ANYONE who dares to voice disagreement with them !  There was even case last year of  some person who works in Palace being booed and harshly critised by PAD.  Even top brass as Anupong is not spared of their rage – and many even wondered that is even he afraid of them ?  PAD followers, supporters and sympathisers are “trigger-happy” to make personal attacks on almost anyone who says something they don’t like – sometime to the level of being almost fanatical zealots of their beliefs. Well, I almost forgot, but it is also worth  mentioning that most of their accusations of others can be equally, often in greater degree, sucessfully applied to themselves !  🙂  say, as their latest favorite subject of  “Thaksin’s bloop” – alleged admiting by Thaksin that he paid protesters  – the best it is summed up by Jotman (read here and here is the video and transcript) and BP (read here which has a more complete  explanation).  So, the main point: PAD accuse Thaksin of paying his supporters (Reds / UDD), while it is well known that they were paid themselves, as Jotman mentions it and many blogs and Forums in Kokosphere have already discussed it at length.

well, I have to Note here that PAD and their ruthless Propaganda is too large subject and would require much more space then such a brief review.

I’ll try to come to it later when there is enough time. At the moment though I think this gives some idea.

Next

Government’s  propaganda is certainly of better quality. Well, after all, Thailand if it wants to be is pretty good at adopting and employing at the best level everything whatever is in the world nowadays, be it service, quality of crafts (as jewelry) or standard of  other things. Also because after all – it is government, it has to be up to the international standards. And lastly, perhaps has to be given some credit to Oxford educated Abhisit and many of his Cabinet members.  So, Government Propaganda is certainly MUCH better: more consistent, logical, more subtle, less fallacious. BUT – it is a Propaganda nevertheless !

Last, but not the least

Well, perhaps also has to be mentioned the Third player in this Combined Propaganda – it is Thai media’s propaganda !  Especially since on this blog we attempt to concentrate on Media’s role in Thai politics.  Media’s  style of Propaganda  is very diverse.  It may have both elements of  Ultra-right elitist PAD  and also of Government’s style of Propaganda. Well, perhaps the best Thai Media’s style could be characterised by their predominantly lack of actual BASIC journalism  – non-partisan, neutral, fair and balanced (not even mention professional investigative journalism – where reporters actually DO work of finding FACTS and evidences) – but instead only “copy and paste”  style level of reports of either Government or PAD, or some prominent academics (ajarns), who usually align either with  PAD or Government. (one may notice how often and how many ajarns speak on Thai TV on all sorts of issues – it makes one wonder:  do Thai people lack their own judgement and opinions or  held in too low esteem by media and government –  that they need to be TOLD by some “Ajarns”  WHAT to think and HOW to think? or perhaps more precisely – NOT to think at all, but simply accept theOfficial truth” ? )

On Thai Forum Pantip many people mock the TV commentator whose name is Kanok – for very biased partisan reports. (Somehow he even dissapeared now – did his bosses rebuked him after getting too many complains? hahaha) they gave him a nick-name “Kanok 10 Baht” – mainly meaning that  his reports worth as much as 10 Baht – same as if one would go and buy newspaper at nearest stall and read himself, because that’s practically what Kanok does anyway – merely reads newspapers articles.  So, the guy who gave him this nick-name said : “I don’t need Kanok to read for me newspaper – I have 10 Baht and I am literate, I can read it without his help!”. This is perhaps a bit simplified, but very characteristic  feature of Thai media: copy-cat style in place of actual journalism ! And funny thing is – they even already know it themselves !  🙂

Another feature I forgot to mention is: HEAVY self-censorship. Even most of more or less good balanced commentators both on TV and among Ajarns do self-censorship, often to such an extend that they regular admirers feel somewhat dissapointed. Well, it is understandable: many of them have lost their jobs during junta’s  TOTAL control of media.  iTV / TiTV drama (perhaps the ONLY Independent media agency which did more or less real investigative journalism, later sold to Thaksin then by him to Singapore company Themasek) was HUGE  – many of  iTV stuff were openly crying when this channel was closed, not all of them been able to get another job in other channels, or didn’t want to – because all of them were controlled by junta government !  (iTV under junta government was transforemed into TiTV and later into  Thai PBS ; read iTV story on Wiki – it is quite interesting and can provide a lot of  reveletions ! particularly some of its FORMER stakeholders and LATER:  Nation multimedia group and … guess who ?  😉 Thaksin !  who was QOUTE “requested to purchase a large portion of the company’s shares” UNQUOTE  under …. whose government ? Democrats ! 🙂   so, no wonder that  both Nation and “Democrats” have a beef with Thaksin till now ! as well as Sondhi L – Thaksin’s former ally and fellow media tycoon ! hell  – the selling of iTV by Thaksin to Themasek was a major factor of rage towards him, used as one of mean reasons to start PAD protests in the first place !

well – as I said iTV affair is too long story in itself !  perhaps we’ll have to come back to it separately, since it shows very well the CLOSE RELATION between POWER STRUGGLE and MEDIA WARS, which apparently was going on at very least for past 12-14 years !

so, ALL of these  3 major players in Thai “Info-wars”  are practically more or less of the same mind. that’s why all of them together combined comprise a GIANT Propaganda machine which somehow is almost homogenic ! because practically ALL of them, with slight variations, or rather in different disguise, preach the same messages, which creates such an athmosphere that it very much looks like what John Pilger mentioned (see my previous post):

… all the opinions on all the vital issues were, by and large, the same …

So, it is quite easy to “blow the wistle” – and raise a chorus of outraged citizens.

As it is quite evident at the moment in relation to Reds – all over Media and internet there is a huge assault on everything directly or indirectly related to Reds.

not even mention – to their beloved bashing-sack Thaksin !   🙂

All in all, the Combined Propaganda (Government + PAD + Thai media and  ajarns  related to all those 3)  is what at present day consitutes sort of  “The Matrix”  which holds minds of Thai people imprisoned.

The new generation of Educated Thais (perhaps need to add – with conscience?), especially those people lives abroad and can read and write English themselves, who have experienced by comparison a huge difference between Thailand and the rest of the World, and who can read and participate in numerous international Forums and blogs related to Thailand (which have discussions in entirely diffeent, more open style), and nowadays even folks on Thai Forums (those already mentioned “Cyber Warriors”‘) – all of them slowly but surely rebell against this “Matrix of  Combined Propaganda“.  That’s why all those 3 players feel the heat and are desperately trying to adopt or adjust, or at least keep up.   People slowly but surely waking up from slumber, challange the “Matrix” and shake away the imposed dogmas and propaganda BS.

It will take considerable time of course – but it is inevitable, sort of evolutionary force – if Thailand wants to keep up with the rest of the wolrd.  Either powers that be realise it for everybody’s sake and benefit – or bear the consiquences. It is simply an unstopable tide of time !

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April 16, 2009 - Posted by | Media Control, Propaganda, Thai MSM | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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