Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

REAL journalism: latest piece by Nick Nostitz on NM


Nick has presented his brief, in his own words incomplete narration (“do not take this as a complete account“)  of the Black Songkran (2009) events in Bangkok and Pattaya which he has witnessed himself and documented very well in his professional photos.

I think that although it can’t be considered a masterpice by so called “professional journalists” (aka “embedded journalists” from MSM ), as well as just a brief, abreviated account  – nevertheless this story may tell much more than tons of  “Official truths”.  therefore I request everybody to read it on NM blog :

The crushing of the Red Shirts

one of the Nick’s  pics :

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I photographed how a few injured Red Shirts were taken away roughly by soldiers. One of them I heard saying: “I am just an old man, I haven’t done anything to anybody”. I cared not for the soldier telling me not to take photos.

I photographed how a few injured Red Shirts were taken away roughly by soldiers. One of them I heard saying: “I am just an old man, I haven’t done anything to anybody”. I cared not for the soldier telling me not to take photos.

Nick’s previous live-blogging of the events of Oct 7th 2008 now called by some as “Black Tuesday”:   What happened on 7/10/2008?

In this latest article he has a good part  dedicated to the so called “Blue shirts” and their role in these events – so far as I can see this is the second (after Nirmal Ghosh)  mentioning them at all both in Thai and even Foreign MSM.  Blue shirts and so called “local residents”  are actually disguised PAD guards and some regular army / navy.  and there are even videos taken from Thai TV of  one politician Newin Chidchop commandreering them, who also seen in another footage with Deputy PM Suthep Thugsuban ( this spelling of his last name I’ve taken from Nation 🙂   – I think it is quite explanatory of why he hired Blue Thugs !) and some army officers.

I am grateful to Nick and Nirmal for letting the world know about these Blue thugs !

On April 7 there was news that a new group of Prem supporters had gathered in front of Prem’s residence at Thewet. They wore light blue neckerchiefs, and called themselves a spontaneously founded citizens’ group – the “Glum Rak Pandin Goed” (The Group that Loves their Land of Birth). Most of the few dozen people had difficulties remembering the group’s name, and garbled it when I asked them. They walked in and out of the army installation next to Prem’s residence, mingled with the soldiers there. I met many PAD guards who I knew from the government house occupation of last year, and who remembered me as well.

On April 8 the march to Prem’s residence began… Police told me that they sent the blue neckerchief guys home at 7 am, by that time there were 300 odd.”

That night I decided to follow the protesters to Pattaya… Friends who were there already told me that Blue Shirts were present, and that there was a brief clash between Red Shirts and Blue Shirts, where some Red Shirts were injured by stones thrown at them. I had already once tried to find out more about the so called Blue Shirts, rumored to be a group set up by Newin, when they were seen at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the beginning of this round of protests, but my search was fruitless when I drove there… ”

“At about 6 am I went to the security zone around the Royal Cliff Hotel. On the bottom of the hill there was a roadblock by the security forces, the first line was the Border Patrol Police (BPP), the second line was the Army. I was at the Tourist Police station halfway up the hill when suddenly several hundred Blue Shirts walked out from within the security zone. One blue pickup truck with Blue Shirts sitting in the open back appeared transporting wooden clubs. I took photos. The Blue Shirts objected, but I did not care. A soldier told them to drive further down the road. I followed on foot. At the bottom of the hill, several dozen Blue Shirts hung out at the road block. Several Blue Shirts carried the pieces of wood through the Army and the BPP lines, and distributed them to their friends, who lined up in front of the BPP. I recognized some Blue Shirts as PAD guards, and they also remembered me from the Government House occupation. Others of the Blue Shirts very much looked like soldiers (I was told later on that they were Navy personnel from Satthahip).

Apparently one or two Red Shirts were shot by Blue Shirts, but I am still confused about when exactly that happened, during the brief clash, or during the previous night. Red Shirt leader Arisamun Pongruengrong demanded that the government deliver the responsible Blue Shirts to justice. He held a press conference inside the entry area of the conference building of the Hotel. Several Red Shirts have shown off a sack of blue shirts that they found during their approach to the Hotel.

There is no doubt that things went completely wrong, and also the Red Shirt leadership has to take responsibility for much that happened. When they declared their D-Day, and their indefinite protest at Government House, they overestimated their abilities, they also overestimated their ability to control the deep-seated anger and sense of injustice among their supporters. I refuse, however, to accept the present tone of the Thai media that demonises the Red Shirts. Much of the escalation is the responsibility of the Government. How, for example can it happen that PAD guards and Navy personnel can appear disguised as “Blue Shirts”, who have collaborated with the security forces, as is proven beyond doubt, to engage in clashes with Red Shirts? That was not the decision of a local commander – this has been a top level political decision.

This is reminiscent of the dirty games and strategies of the 1970s, of extreme right wing militias, such as Navapol and Kratingdaeng, who with high level government and military support acted as agent provocateurs. Are we really back in this dark era of Thailand’s history? Have we not learned one thing?

well, here we go !  as I said in my previous posts –  Government, Thai Media, PAD and Military are aligned together to CRUSH the Reds. of course there are also a lot of elite, academics and buerocrats on their side.  their combined effort has created this situation which lead to the tragic events of Black Songkran – NOT  the “viloent nature” of UDD protesters, as now all these groups work so hard to convince the public separately  and jointly ! I’m glad that there are real journalists who care about THE Truth  and are sincere to express their opinions and present such true facts.

I am sure that more and more evidences will come out eventually – there are a lot of people out there with consience after all !

In this regard, elsewhere (thanks to PPT for tip ) there is a a fresh article about growing awareness of Thai public about this Propaganda War :

With Censorship, Thais Turn to Websites and Foreign Media

The radio stations were closed because they were being used to incite violence,” Buranaj Smutharakas, Democrat Party spokesman, told journalists. “The right to free speech ends when it is being used to call for violence.” ” – mind you, this is “Democrat” speaking, officlal spokesman of ruling Democrat party !

well, by now there a lot of people who have no doubt anymore about the first part – that THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH ENDS … by “Democrats”

Yet the act of censorship … has inadvertently exposed the bias that grips local media. Mainstream print and broadcast media were not censored – they had portrayed the Democrat Party-led coalition in a positive light

“The newspapers were not under pressure from the government. They chose to do it [ Self-censorship ! ] because they like the Democrats and their backers, hate the reds,” a senior television journalist told IPS on the condition of anonymity. “So they have not to worry about censorship.”

The mainstream television stations were under some pressure, he revealed. “My boss was told by a powerful person not to run pictures damaging to the military or to the government.

The current round of censorship that targets the ‘red shirt’ media has parallels with the media policy of the country’s last military regime

‘Red shirts’ have been seething at the “one-sided” coverage of the mainstream media. “The press in Thailand is with the government. It is like a business partnership,” said a 47-year-old resident of Bangkok who gave his name as Somchai. “They have let us down. They cannot be called a national media.”

We cannot trust the Thai journalists, because what we know is not reportedWe depend on websites and foreign media for the news

The people are angry, because what the newspapers and television have said about them is not true.”

so, yes – odinary people, whom Elite and well-to-do Bangkokians despise, mock and insult, constantly villify as “uneducated, ignorant, STUPID” – they are not that stupid after all ! they DO know the truth – that it is NOT  on the pages of Thai MSM or TV channels – it is  out there, in “virtual” space  aka internet. that’s why government has dedicated enormous resources to this  IFORMATION BLACKOUT and assigned its ICT Ministry a “holy crusade” task to SPY and to block all the websites which in government’s words “distort” the truth.

People are AWARE ! they learn to “read between the lines” and watch out for  “Official denials“.

that’s why now on many Thai forums (and shared by e-mails) there curculate quotes like this one:

How can you possibly make any difference?  Individuals have no power in this modern world. That is what you’ve been taught because that is what they need you to believe. But it is not true. This is why they are afraid and the reason that I am here; to remind you that it is individuals who always hold the power. The real power. Individuals like me. And individuals like you. I have come to offer you a deal. If you accept, I will give you a different world. A world without curfews, without soldiers and surveillance systems. A world that is not run by other men but that is run by you. I am offering you a second chance.” — from the movie “V for Vendetta”

one of the posters found nowadays in Thailand
one of the posters found nowadays in Thailand

I also recommend to read the Comments to Nick’s  article – as I can see, there are many of both Thai and foreign journalists prasing him, as well as fellow bloggers.

Of course I’m nobody, but I felt like expressing my own gratitude for this presenting the truth. so, here is  my  comment left for Nick:

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GREATEST RESPECT to Nick for a good example of TRUE unbiased journalism !

it is a huge relief that still there are good genuine journalists like this.

TRUTH has no color. however in this situation I tend to think that this time truth is on Reds side. because there is a theory by some other great journalists that the real truth is subversive – which means, it usually comes from the GRASSROTS or from the bottom down to the surface. while “Official truth” which is HANDLED down from the top in most cases is either a blatant PROPAGANDA or it is very biased, censored (as well as SELF-censored) and very limited – typical characteristics for “Embedded journalism” (also read here).

yet somehow truth finds its way to the open sooner or later.

this Nick’s great account is one more confirmation of that for me!

Nick, you said – “it is not a complete account”.
I can understand very well what you mean.

so, I am sure that many of us here will be waiting with great anticipation for your COMPLETE ACCOUNT

once again: GREATEST RESPECT !

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April 21, 2009 - Posted by | Anti-establishment | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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