Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

Media is divided ?

it looks like there is a process of division (to some extent) within the ranks of Thai MSM  ?

some (very few)  are supporting Reds  and are being fired for that, others shift their attitudes a bit and reflect upon their pro-middle-class / pro-elite stance.

perhaps our efforts here on this blog, as well as many other fellow bloggers out there – are not in vain after all ?  because it looks like finally at least  SOME  of the Thai reporters  have  got the message (I still wonder – how ?)  and start to consider  their onw responsibility in the current events in Thai politics.

PPT  blogged today :  “Reflections on the media and the Songhran uprising”  with reference to Prachathai re-print of Nation article by Pravit !

PPT writes quoting Surachart (who posted an article in Prachathai) :

the crushing of the red-shirts by military force was not unexpected. And such use of force was not the result of the collapse of the ASEAN Summit, but was due to the fact that the red shirts politically and socially pose a threat to the middle-class and the elite

In the bloody Songkran, what the media and middle class in Bangkok did could be considered giving a license to kill to the government, although such military action had been a taboo since 1992…

so, this is interesting, coming from Nation:

…. why the Thai mainstream media – not the extreme vigilante media like ASTV, may be heavily biased against the reds.

The obvious first answer is the fact that these people standby an allegedly corrupt politician, Thaksin, who had a bitter relationship with the media.

But there’s also a second and equally valid answer … That is the fact the mainstream mass media overwhelming reflect the middle-class (and in some cases an elitist) political worldview. This is simply because editors, journalists and photographers are mostly middle class and Thai mass media is hardly a forum for the poor, less formally educated lower class, who happen to make up some 70 per cent of the Thai population.

Thus they’re more middle class’ media than “mass” media, which might supposedly include more voices from the poor majority. What they write or report on tells readers more about themselves than that of the poor.

The middle class’ daily dealings with the lower class is marked by hierarchical and patronage relationships such as one of manager-to-worker, passenger-to-taxi-driver, master-to-maid, diner-to-waiter, sex-buyer-to-sex-worker and more.

The middle class and elite are not used to truly listening to the lower class and rather wish they remain docile as cab drivers, waiters or prostitutes instead of being active as fellow Thai citizens, capable of independent and equal political thoughts and aspirations.

If lower-class people are in the news, many of the middle class rather wish they were on the news as a “good cabbie” who returns a forgotten wad of bank notes left behind by a forgetful middle class or rich passenger. Or, as an award-winning bartender, or perhaps a maid who was a rape victim of a cruel house master. To them, the poor reds can’t possibly have an independent mind and are more likely to have been duped or bribed by Thaksin and his cohorts. So it doesn’t matter much which newspapers or TV channel you subscribe to.

Meanwhile  “Matichon” founder and CEO Kanchai Boonpan  has fired senior Editor Sathien Junthimathorn “for having been mouthpieces for the Thaksin regime, and blindly attacking the Abhisit government”   – this is after another editor Chulalak Phukert was also fired  a week earlier. Interestingly,  Sathien was a co-founder of  “Matichon“.

Manager reported that Sathien and Chulalak had been close and both of them went to the jungle to join the Communist Party after the Oct 6, 1976 massacre… He is a veteran journalist, and was one of the 100 signatories calling for a constitution before the Oct 14, 1973.  He fled to join the communist party after Oct 6, 1976.  In the jungle, he worked on mobilizing the masses with Jaran Dittha-apichai, one of the red-shirt leaders, and Chaturon Chaisang. After returning to Bangkok, he co-founded Matichon, and has been editor and columnist in its publications...

So, looks like  Thai media  is not only “middle-clas” and self-censoring media – but also it has started a Purge

(or as  one author on Prachathai jokingly mentioned this process as “De-reddening“).


April 29, 2009 - Posted by | Media Control, Thai MSM | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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