Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

Critisism of MSM role in protests coverage

surprisingly  Nation has posted a report  “Discussion slams crackdown”  – although it couldn’t resist branding the symposium as  “pro-Thaksin” .

Another speaker, television anchorman ML Nattakorn Devakul, said the media had tried to justify the crackdown by labelling the red-shirt protesters a mob funded by Thaksin.  “Most people who followed the mainstream media think some force [by the military] is alright and the red shirts floating dead in the Chao Phaya are no big deal, because the overall picture is that the reds have been deligitimised.”He was referring to two deaths that the authorities insist were unrelated to the crackdown.

Police General Achirawit Suphanpesat, deputy police chief under the Thaksin government, said it went against international standards to have soldiers instead of riot police clear up the protesters. “It’s shameful in the eyes of the world,” he said.  He claimed the mainstream Thai media had censored a lot of disturbing footage from being aired or reported.”

well, on second thought, it is not so much surprising this kind of reports – typical  “copy and paste”,   more like relaying who said what.

another article though, Nation’s Editorial, is more in line with usual Nation’s style :  “The day Abhisit made Thais hold their breath“.

I don’t even want to go into much details regarding all the twists and spins in this last article. my general impression is:   it is  sort of  patronizing tone towards Abhisit, and may be somewhat  pretensiously critical of him (as if  showing : “see – we  do not simply side with government!”  and to help Abhisit  to look like a person who takes into consideration “all sides”).

one point though I feel like mentioning, in regard to this  spot :

The optimists believe this may turn out to be yet another brilliant move by Abhisit. In effect, he has told the protesters that he has kept his part of the bargain and now it’s their turn. The movement will be under considerable pressure to be orderly and peaceful. For Abhisit, if new protests turn ugly they will end up hurting his enemies more internationally.”

Bargain, what bargain?  Perhaps Nation  would enlighten us about the details of whatever bargain?  As far as I know –  UDD / Red-shirts  never said that they made any sort of deal with Abhisit and his government – not on the day of the end of their protest at GH ot prevent  more deaths,  nor later, not yesterday and latest rally. They said time and again that they’ll continue their movement  till they achive their goal of   ousting Abhisit, because they consider him non-elected and therefore illegitimate PM  – or as they wrote on their posters “Abhisit is PM –  of dictators, by dictators, for dictators”.  And I don’t think that  “generous” offer  of amnesty, sweet BS words of “reconciliation and unity” and  whatever Nation’s spin  is gonna change that.  oh yeah – and neither the never decreasing of Thaksin bashing.

by the way,  the actual reason why Abhisit has been forced to lift the Emergency  – is not because he is so kind and lenient (as his usage of armed soldiers has shown quite the opposite) – but because he could not any longer to be under pressure and critisism for continuing this S.O.E.  after all, Abhisit is not so stupid and knows very well that this S.O.E. curbs the Essential Liberties of  people – of all the people, not only the protesters.

Bkk Post has article by Voranai Vanijaka  titled  “THE BATTLE FOR PUBLIC OPINION”  – which I guess is some sort of admitting by Thai MSM that indeed, the war is underway (although Voranai calls it just a battle – single event).  Voranai is apparently another spin-doctor  and typical corporate journalist. few days back BP has blogged about previous Voranai’s  article, and I think one of readers summed it up in comments :

Voranai’s off-scale extreme partisan stance made his article belong to the trashcan in stead of the coffee table.

I mean – it is too damn obvious, this “extreme partisan stance”, as that person wrote !

despite that, Voranai goes on in the same style and tone today again, sort of mocking sarcasm of  all the international media and everyone else who doesn’t agree with Voranai :

When he told of his plight, many international analysts, observers, reporters, opinion writers and editors must have had tears in their eyes and nightmarish images of natives running amok, tearing down all the things that are holy and good, such as freedom and democracy

Never mind the lack of any evidence to support Thaksin’s claim that 60 to 70 civilians have been killed by the military during the Songkran War. Not that it absolutely did not happen. We don’t know. But we do know this: There’s no evidence. So any attempt to pass an empty accusation off as fact is a blatant lie.  [woops !  what a twist, huh?   worthy of  best demagogues :  “we don’t know ->  no evidence ->  ‘blatant lie’  ”  Cool ! 🙂 ]”

but then  Voranai attempts to  appear “fair and balanced”, and even sort of critisizes PAD / Yellow  :

Much of the local media definitely leans towards the yellow, or otherwise is painted blatantly yellow. Some lean to the red, or are blatantly in the red. But since we already discuss red, let’s now discuss yellow

To some in the media, the PAD’s illegal actions are condoned and swept under the carpet, while they say the UDD leaders ought to be in jail. No, prosecute both.   The law cannot and should not be selective.

In the battle for public opinion, both at local and international levels – personal prejudices, ignorance, manipulation, rumours, hearsay and downright fabrications are the weapons of choice. How is there to be any reconciliation when so many involved refused to except truth and responsibilities, especially in the media?

Here’s the truth: The conflict is not so black and white as the intellectually challenged would have it

But who cares for the truth. The crisis worsens because the media, the politicians and the people, local and international, spew rubbish to fan the fire.

We all really need to get better at what we do, both the local and international media. But I would like to specifically address the international media, not all, only the guilty ones, you know who you are.

You may not fan the fire intentionally. You may just be doing your job. Perhaps believing that you’re doing the right thing. Perhaps Thaksin’s PR firm has a special relationship with you.

But for the sake of plain old, basic human decency, I hope you don’t feel any of that gives you the right to worsen the situation, trivialise and make mockery of over 60 million people who are struggling for our freedom, our democracy, our identity and our nationhood. The media should never be the mouthpiece for anyone…  “

wow !  I almost believed  that  Voranai is   “fair and balanved” – but in the end he blew it !   🙂

the funny thing is – Voranai himself and guys like him still don’t realize that in fact there are SO MANY people  who have nothing to do with Thaksin at all, but simply can’t stand the shameless spin like this !  not even talking about democracy or any politics – just only the “logic” used  by such “yellow journalists”  (which BTW has not relations to PAD  !  🙂  ).

UPDATE  Apr 27th

As I knew he would – Fonzi has already posted his “deconstruction” of this Voranai’s piece –   which is as usually  spot on and yet  hillarious !

What kind of crazy incompetent newspaper editors would scream from the rooftops that these idiot foreigners don’t understand

because we keep all the facts to ourselves, then blame the entire world for not getting the stories right?!

here is an example of  Public opinin,  quoted by Bkk post itself in its other article :

Prathum Wangklan, a 51-year-old Bangkok vendor, said he joined the rally because he did not believe media reports about the political situation.  “I have to come here to listen to the truth,” said Mr Prathum. “The harder the government tries to suppress the red shirt movement, the more people will join the demonstration,” he added.

well, finally, here is the “official truth”  (aka government Propaganda  spin) :  “PM: Crackdown on UDD transparent” – with heavy MSM media censorship and total blockage of all UDD media ?  with soldiers  attack in  dark pre-dawn hours and  no reporters allowed nearby  the main action ?  what a joke – “transparent” indeed !

He said a committee was also set up to clarify issues relating to the anti-government protests in the capital on April 13.  He said the government whip, the opposition whip and the senate whip would discuss the progress of the investigations into the April 13 mob dispersal on Monday.

well, let’s see  tomorrow what that discussion will bring.


April 26, 2009 - Posted by | Anti-establishment, Media Control | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] they have been doing it for a long time already. At the same time, Thai MSM has been repeatedly exposed as biased and extensively criticized, some of them even expressing their own doubts and disappointment at how […]

    Pingback by Role of Thai MSM in social unrest; govt curbs opposition media « Media War | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. good blog post about Thai media :

    Thailand’s Media

    “incompetent and poorly-trained journalists more accustomed to deferring to the pooyai (big people) and not questioning what they were told … with powerful protectors behind them, newspapers may also denounce or libel adversaries to a remarkable degree.”

    This tendency of course continues – is it the case, then, that journalists, commentators and proprietors have mistaken the concept of free speech with the ability to say anything at all without penalty? During the Thai Rak Thai administrations, for example, there was much talk about suppression of free speech by recourse to the law of libel, yet few people acknowledged that a lot of what people were saying was, clearly, libelous – unsupported assertions which damage the reputation of a person or institution is a reasonable definition of libel. A lot of comment still is libelous.

    Comment by antipadshist | April 28, 2009 | Reply

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