Media war continues: New twist in Sondhi’s case
“A propaganda war has begun in Thailand … ” – Nirmal Ghosh (in Anti-Thaksin royalist leader shot)
Nirmal was a wintess af Pattaya Reds & Blues clash and blogged LIVE from the spot, and usually does good investigative journalism it seems.
Today I was quite surprised, while reading Nation’s recent articles, to find this one,
which indicates how very well Thai media are aware about ongoing “Media war” (or War by Media ?) :
Editorial (by Yoon himself or Thanong?)
Dated: April 9, 2009 – which is next day after UDD/ “Red shirts” mass rally started on Wed Apr 8th, also as I recall a day when UDD blocked Bkk traffic at city’s important traffic hub Victory Monument, and day before the “Red shirts” lead by Arisaman appeared at ASEAN summit in Pattaya and were attacked by Blue shirts there after delivering their Letter of protest -the event which startet the riots in Bkk, heavy crackdown on Reds, Emergency Decree (still in place) and Total Media Blackout.
here are some quotes, check it out :
“As tens of thousands of red-clad protesters rallied in Bangkok yesterday in their bid not only to topple Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government but also to abolish what they called “bureaucratic polity” [aka “amatayathippatai” or shortly Amart], the Thai media was caught in the crossfire. [Really? wouldn’t it be rather more accurate to say: “completely sidelined with “Official truth” ?] Over the past weeks, news consumers have heard several terms that the protest leaders use to claim they are fighting for a certain ideology. The media’s challenge, or main task perhaps, is to report the claims, mudslinging and developments without aggravating the situation while making sure that professional requirements are also fulfilled. [WOW! “professional”, huh? that’s rich, coming from Nation ! 😀 ]…
The current political crisis has come this far, thanks largely to the use of information technology [My take is – here Nation tries to blame Internet sources as blogs, Forums etc – certainly NOT the Thai MSM]. The yellow-shirted leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy managed to spread their views via cable TV, while the red-shirted demonstrators are doing the same.
Thaksin knows well the nature of the press [So does, even to greater extent, his nemesis Sondhi Lim 🙂 ], that the newspapers and electronic media will certainly report what he says in their headlines the next day, and that’s the reason he uses video links to spread allegations against his political opponents…
Several of his claims have been dismissed as groundless, but still they find their way into the mainstream media [Oh ! what a shame, huh ?! 😉 looks like Nation’s miscalculated in its pretentious attempt to look as “fair and balanced”]. Readers and TV viewers have been confused by these allegations. The media has so far played the role of messenger for both sides. The intention is admirable for the media is simply trying to balance their views. However, the media – albeit unknowingly – has inflamed the political tension by falling into the traps of this political game. [I almost started to believe genuity of Nation’s adherence to “professionalism”. this part though sheds the light on what actually they mean as Media’s role: 1) NOT let “allegations” get into MSM; 2) counteract whatever “allegations” with “Official truth“]
Over the past few weeks, the local press has tried to report what both sides say, as is their duty as members of the media. The leaders of both sides seem to understand very well the nature of the press and they try to manipulate media space to their advantage. Certain incidents have been leaked to the press without verification.
Some journalists and news outlets take a neutral political stance while others clearly reveal their political affiliations. [what a revelation! taking into consideration Nation’s blunt Thaksin-bashing as well as demonization of Reds, and in gerneral “vilification or poor rural people” as AW mentioned in recent radio interview] This is normal in a democratic society and Thailand should cherish the fact that the Thai press has been able to exercise its freedom to report so far.
However, the ongoing political crisis is very sensitive, and if the press is not careful about how some things are reported, the result could be an explosion of violence. Some reports might result in misunderstanding and cause more division in society. Therefore, journalists must ensure that they don’t report news in such a way as to inflame the crisis.
The media should try to verify all comments, especially those that seem irresponsible. The media should report the news within the context and provide useful explanation about what is really going on in Thailand.
Although Thailand may be able to pass through this crucial week peacefully, Thais might not gain a better understanding of what democracy is all about. After all, what is happening in Thailand right now shows that Thais are anxious to fulfil their role in our democratic system.”
so, this Nation’s Editorial seems more like insrtuction to other Thai reporters on … SELF-CENSORHIP !
well, of course many of things said in this article have good points – only if Nation itself would have followed its own words, instead of plainly alligning itself with “Official Truth” !
Sondhi’s case: Update Sun Apr 19th 1pm (Bkk time)
meanwhile we can witness the ongoing Media War: Reds’ / UDD ALL TV, radio, websites are being closed/ blocked by MICT; Thai MSM try hard to present the “Official Truth”; some opposition PT party MPs try to voice their version of events.
The most interesting developement is on another (apart from government’s and Thai media’s) Propaganda front by major player – from PAD / Yellows.
Their ASTV channel is being quite busy, as well as their publications.
Especially in relation to the attempted murder case of PAD’s founder, ideologue, leader, and ASTV manager Sondi L.
The statements by PAD do not point to UDD as suspects, but rather into another direction. Some information has already came out.
So, Sondhi’s case adds entirely new twist to Media War, with things said by Sondhi’s son, who happens to be ASTV senior manager
“Sondhi L’s son Jittanart Limthongkul … said there is a new form of war by a group who want to create a new government consisting of the police and army in neutral gear (ie who won’t take the “necessary action”), one Minister who has great desire, and politician(s) behind the blue shirts.”
“third force, comprising a clique of military and police officials, are plotting to take over the government, sidelining both the Red Shirts and the Abhisit government…
“Gestapo state” is being formed as the base for a new political force that’s “as bad as the redshirts.”
A new form of war is emerging — it’s being launched by the collusion of certain police and military officers. They are plotting a new coup. It is said that a minister, who is said to be involved in the attempted assassination of a privy councillor, is actively behind this new exercise…
this group of plotters was employing “assassins” to hunt down those they consider their enemies…
The red-shirts can suddenly turn blude shirts. This plot has many levels…
Sondhi’s son said the incident at the Interior Ministry last week when Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva came under attack had been planned “to kill the prime minister — and put the blame on the red-shirts.”
Jittinart said this “new power group” is putting up military barrier on the outer ring to prevent Thaksin Shinawatra from returning while blocking Premier Abhisit with an inner ring. He said: “The people like us must be united and don’t let them hold us hostage.“
SR further comments:
“The minister actively involved in this new exercise would be Sanan Kachornprasert -he is the minister reportedly linked to the assassination attempt against Charnchai …
it is interesting that Jittinart does not immediately point the finger at the Red Shirts for the hit attempt on his father, but instead goes after elements of the security services and Sanan…
Matichon details the four groups cited as plotters by Sondhi’s son:
Group 1: Top police officials (that do not act) neutral gear
Group 2: Soldiers (that do not act) neutral gear
Group 3: One cabinet minister with great ambition
Group 4: Politician(s) behind the Blue Shirts
It is a propaganda war at the moment. Hopefully, time will reveal the “real truth” of what is happening. The Yellow Shirts have every incentive to use this incident as way to discredit their opponents, though the possibility is still there that they are correct in what they claim.”
So, term “propaganda war” is being used time and again in many blogs nowadays ! which gives me a lot of confirmation that my observations are correct.