SMS censorship – next stage of Democrats’ government “Media war” ?
another pearl from Minister Satit :
Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey yesterday told a seminar, “Thai Press Freedom: Would it fuel or quell the fire of conflicts?” marking World Press Freedom Day, the time had come for the mainstream media to strictly maintain neutrality.
The minister said the government right now was more concerned about the impact of short message services (SMS) via mobile phones as they can also be misused to spread disinformation.
PPT explained this :
Puangthong Phawakkaraphan, a political science lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, pointed out that “red shirt supporters felt that coverage by the mainstream media of the Songkran rioting was biased.” This led to frustration (and SMS messaging).
The really worrisome question now is : does this expressed by Minister Satit “concern” indicates that government will now try to censor SMS messages as well?
So called “Democrat” government has closed all the TV, radio stations by opposition (UDD), blocked many of their websites, increased the already existing heavy censorhip of remaining media, officially launched the “Media War” towards the foreign media whom they suspect in being paid by Thaksin. Finally government Minister Satit questioned the very need, usefulness and value of Freedom of Press itself and called this basi liberty a “cliche” (that is on “World Press Freedom Day“ !!! :O) …
One might think – there is nothing else left to censor and supress. except internet (some blogs and forums still continue the resistence to the deeply biased information sold by government propaganda machine and Thai MSM as “official truths“) and perhaps the last remaining choice is face to face discussions. SMS are naturally one of such alternative means to share the information. because nowadays almost everybody (well, at least in the cities and towns) has mobile phone. During the events of “Black May” (1992) when junta carried out bloody crackdown on protesters, all the media was also under rigid control – and yet people still managed to share the information through faxes or other means, even hand written messages. Now of course there is no need for faxes, since anyone can send instant SMS messages easily and almost per each minute.
So, now government is also being “concerned” about this LAST available option for people to share the information?
I think even China, NK and Myanmar haven’t invented such a brilliant idea yet !
Update May 11th 2009
found today an interesting comment on another blog in regard to this SMS censorship matter :
the mention of SMS is little bit funny because of Abhisits ‘hi folks, it’s me, your new PM, i am lead Thailand out of the crisis’ SMS,
which was 3 month later also a topic in the censure motion debate. But there is an better “joke”:
May 04, 2005, World Press Freedom Day:
” Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva concurred with Prinya’s dark vision of the future of press freedom in Thailand.
“In the future, alternative media may be limited to sending SMS text messages, but even then the powers that be might still be benefiting financially from it,” Abhisit said, in a thinly-veiled reference to AIS, Thailand’s leading mobile-phone service provider, owned by the family of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The day may come , he added, when no newspaper will be allowed to be critical of the government.Abhisit insisted that during the previous reign of the Democrat Party, Thailand’s media were much more vigorous because press freedom was guaranteed by authorities. “Every morning I used to read strident criticism of the government [in daily newspapers]. Every evening [television] news programmes were harshly critical of the administration.”
(source: The Nation, Pravit Rojanaphruk, PRESS FREEDOM DAY : State control of the media slammed as ‘degradation’, 04.05.2005, newsid=115256.
The Prime Minister’s Office Minister of 2009 gives almost a direct answer to the dark vision of the 2005 Abhisit ‘they day may come …’ – ‘the time had come …’ and both mention the SMS communcation that the Government is concerned about what people sending each other via SMS is worrying and that it’s not only related to the freedom of the press but more to the freedom of individuals, the right to privacy. secrecy of correspondence, privacy of communication is a law not unknown in thailand, but maybe not holy respected like in other democracies, i mean the people in Power maybe world wide control us daily and log all our communication, but that is kept as big, big secret and no Government offical in the other democracies would said something like this in public, except in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. guess that would be the Democrats dream, SMS for the people only send by the beloved comrade leader. there are concurrent policies between North Koreas Juche Idea and the Songun policy, with a couple of ideological concepts in thai politics, the role of the army, the nation and what have to be done for the sake of the nation.
there are a couple of other statements from Abhisits time as opposition leader, what the PM (Thaksin) should do, should not do and should accept.
but now the opposition get branded as communits, anti constitutional, enemies. rallies become a threat to the safety of the state and so on. you don’t need to compare PAD with the Reds and how their misdeeds got persecuted by the Government, just take the words of janus-faced Abhist. we need an Abhisit watch as well, some famous quotes and running gags waiting to be discovered .