“Why media needs freedom?” – Satit
well, one might thing it is April the 1st (“Fools’ day”), not the May 3rd “World Press Freedom Day” ! 🙂
because this question asked by … goverenment Minister of ruling DEMOCRAT party Mr. Sarit Satit was on occasion of the above mentioned day, in the assembly of Thai Journalists’ Association was too hillarious (or too stupid?) and could only be considered as a bad taste joke :
“So why do [the media] need freedom?“
(almost same as in that song: “what is it good for? absolutely nothing! ” LOL)
That’s right, this is speaking a DEMOCRAT Satit – not some dictator as Sarit !
Prime Minister’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey yesterday questioned freedom of expression,
which he referred to as a cliched claim by the media, saying that it had become the cause of social conflict…
Chulalongkorn University political scientist Puangthong Pawakarapan said the red shirts had received different treatment from the media than that received by the yellow shirts. Because the red shirts got less space on the mainstream media, they had to seek their own space, using channels such as the Internet and community radio to express their opinion. She said that since the mainstream media denied the red shirts fair treatment, they denied information being given by this media and created their own “world of fact”, resulting in a bigger social rift…
At the end of the conference, Thai Journalists’ Association president Prasong Lertrattanavisit issued a statement on behalf of the association and six allied organisations urging the government not to interfere with the media, and to refrain from blocking any stream of information, including websites and community radio stations.
Moreover, the association said the government had to be sincere in reforming laws that infringed upon freedom of expression.
Imagine if these things were said by some minister in Thaksin’s government (or Samak’s , Somchai’s ) – what a HOWLING OUTRAGE would be raised by “fair and balanced” Thai Media ! but when a so called “Democrat” says this with straight unblinking face – do we see ANY objections, comdemnations, dissent ? both Enlg. lang. newspapers Nation and Bkk Post has dutifully reported this as some sort of PR press-release – nothing more than that. NO SINGLE WORD of their own thoughts about such MORONIC stupidest question by the government official ! WHY these large media agencies, who so ferociously fought for “freedom of speech” (or so they called it) with Thaksin – now they KEEP SILENT, and just swallow this crap ? No any other explanation comes to mind than duplicity and huge hypocrasy.
PPT blog has commented :
One wonders why he would attend a meeting meant to celebrate media freedom and say such illiberal things? PPT believes the answer is that this government continues to want to limit political freedoms and this is a further warning… Then the minister adds: “Let’s see how they are going to regulate themselves and the ones that have been used as political groups’ instruments.” Presumably he means the UDD media that the government closed down and restricted. The government certainly hasn’t acted against pro-government media… It seems that censorship of government-defined “disinformation” is appropriate under the Democrat Party-led administration of Abhisit Vejjajiva.
In fact, yesterday on TV news reports it was mentioned that government has not only refused to allow the opposition’s TV station (D-station, or “Democracy Station”) to be re-opened after it has closed it during Emergency Decree, but it has also refused the petition to open a new TV station , the second station by UDD / DAAD leadership.
Here is a bit fresh update about D-station status :
Abhisit said he was willing to let D-Station resume broadcasting if it promised not to provoke unrest and intimidate the media.
Accusations of “provoking unrest” are not new, but I would like to know the explanation of “intimidate the media” – WHO intimidates whom ?
It is also interesting to notice that NO ANY attempts has been made by government to curb the media by another political movement – Yellows or PAD – who still have their own cable TV station ASTV, newspapers etc. The things beeing said on those media outlets not only has created many controversies (like at present moment there is some sort of “info-wars” conducted through media is going on between Sondhi L and one of the very influencial ladies – read about it in better details on BP’s blog, also here, here and here ). There are many things being said on PAD’s media and in such a style (or tone or language) which certianly DO create the rift in the society. However Thai MSM and even government (as Mr. Satit) do not dare to even object to those things, not to speak – try to censor it in any way or, God forbid – CLOSE , as deemed spreading “disinformation”, harming political stability and detrimental to national “reconciliation and unity”.
There are many opinions which point out that most likely reason of failed murder attempt on Sondhi was his very outspoken (to say it mildly – if not openly offensive and libelious) critique of many people, practically any person who might displease him. Despite that, Sondhi didn’t miss a chance for self-promotion, saying that ” assassination attempt was also a threat to other members of the media who dare tell the truth“. Well, sure there were may cases in Thailand when reporters were killed. However it is quite an overstatement that Sondhi is a “media who tells the truth” – although of course his followers sacredly believe that.