“Power-shift“? guys in uniforms rely more on cams than guns now
“Knowledge is the most democratic source of power”
“Knowledge, not violence nor money, is the essence of power in the information age“
– Alvin Toffler
(author of book “Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century” )
according to Alvin Toffler it is a shift of power from the guys with guns to guys with information / knowledge.
Back in 1990, almost 20 years ago, famous American non-fiction writer Alvin Toffler has published his 3rd book “Powershift“, to emphasise the HUGE phenomena in the world of politics and power struggle:
“the control of knowledge has become the principal means to create wealth and power. Aided by the widespread use of computers and other communications technologies, this “powershift,” Toffler predicts, will dramatically alter the world’s political balance. The superpowers will no longer dominate, since massive military power and control of natural resources will diminish in importance. Access to the latest information will allow developing countries to skip stages of economic growth. On the business level, executives will use knowledge as an instrument to gain control of their companies.” (from book review on Amazon)
well, certainly Thailand as usually is quick to catch up with the latest trends. It was Thai MSM who has first sucessfully employed this principle – in forming the opposition to Thaksin (they considered Democrat party as too weak to be a proper opposition), which has eventually brought down Thaksin’s government, even though Thaksin was a media tycoon himself, and despite the fact that he has won all the elections. Among the media who furiously opposed Thaksin were many as Suthichai Yoon, reportedly his former business partners (or employees? ) who were pissed off with him for what they saw as unfair and unjust treatement of them. Nation Multimedia Group is reportedly (read comment #9) a founder of former iTV channel.
Sondhi’s PAD was first to sucessfully use media in their rallies. they have established cable TV network called ASTV, and used it to a great advantage to bash Thaksi and later Samak, Somchai in their programs. during 2008 rallies ASTV had 24/7 LIVE broadcast from the several stages for the rest of their supporters. in fact, their PR (or more precisely Propaganda) machine was much more efficient than that of government and of police. that’s how they were able to dominate the public opinions about their clash with police on Oct 7th – it was rather police who was widely condemned all over the country, even though PAD thugs shot police too, thrown bombs, stabbed them with sharpened flag poles, run over them with cars… their massive PR campaign cost positions for several police bosses, as well as Chalerm, Interior Minister that time (he resigned himself).
Police has learned a hard way from this “Media battle” and since than they have done a certain amount of catch-up !
“Plain-clothes police attend a lecture on the finer points
of taking photographs to be used as evidence to protect
the officers against charges of rough-handling protesters.
The training session took place at Thammasat University“
Video recorders and digital cameras are making inroads as vital evidence-gathering tools to help officers mete out justice…
Two days before the rally by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship on April 8, about 230 policemen from the Metropolitan Police Bureau filed quietly into the Thammasat University auditorium to be trained in skills they never expected to need.
Participants swapped handguns for digital cameras and video recorders as they signed up for a crash course on how to capture still and motion pictures that could be used as vital pieces of evidence.
Preecha Thamanontree, head of the metropolitan police detective unit, said police have realised that clashes with protesters never make them heroes.
In confrontations with the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy, many officers suffered by not being equipped with the tools that would help them catch crucial activities on tape… Pol Col Preecha said police had been ill-equipped when going undercover to gather intelligence on protest movements. At times undercover police have been accused of resorting to violence against protesters. Now the officers are sent out to rallies in groups of at least three. One will record every moment as fellow officers work to break up scuffles or quell other forms of unrest… ” from now on, we’ll come better prepared.” …
Ms Pakpimol said the pictures could also prevent protesters being framed. She warned, however, that the pictures could be digitally doctored…
During Songrkan riots in Bkk there could be seen many soldiers and police having dig. cams and video-coders – they have certainly out-matched and out-classed UDD protesters in that. UDD should have taken a much better care of their PR team, as well as established some sort of team of their own “reporters” (or evidence-collectors equipped with cams etc.)
today, Apr 10th, there is planned to be a giant UDD rally, and police now are well prepared :
Police to record speeches of red shirt leaders during rally
Metropolitan Police Division 2 Commander Pol Maj Gen Saroj Promcharoen said police would record speeches of leaders of the red-shirted movement during the Bangkok rally Sunday evening.
Saroj said police would record and monitor the speeches of the leaders, who are on bail, to see whether they violate the bail condition or not.
Saroj said police expect some 20,000 would join the rally at the Phai Khiew Temple.
Now as never before the knowledge / information IS power – not the guns or molotov coctails. So, there is certainly a huge Media war going on in Thailand right now. and all the players realize it very well. UDD though seems to be least prepared for it, even though their rally today is aimed to at least attempt to correct their media battle failure during and after Songkran events. Nation reports that PT party MPs will distribute 2mln CDs with “evidences” about true version of those events.
Let’s see what will be the outcome of this effort.