A stark symbol of Thai media’s bias !
photo of man dragging woman by hair won the Year’s Best Photo award.
To me this photo and the fact that it has UNANIMOUSLY won the TOP MPA reward is a
symbol of the BIAS of Thai MSM !
how cruelly bloody ironic is it that THIS VERY MEDIA BIAS was the REAL reason of this the confrontation which led to the shameless act depicted by “award winning photo” : because these 2 red-shirt women has came forward towards the line of soldiers and reporters to voice their protest at the BIAS of media ! instead Thai media has completely misrepresented the whole event AND in its best style and tradition it has twisted the whole story in such a way that the actual reasons of why woman was so angry were left out, instead the TOTALLY FALSE story was cooked up by Thai Rath to present the red-shirted woman as the personification of the “evil and violent” mob who want to harm the public, the man who dragged her by hair as a champion of the civilians who has taken it upon himself to “punish” the culprit, and of course the reporter of Thai Rath as well as his newspaper as a a champions of “Truth” who brave the dangers of riots to bring the “honest facts” to Thai public.
now, HOW SHAMEFULL it is !
back in April I’ve already posted about the case when one of Thailand’s largest newspapaers with name Thai Rath has published disgraceful photo of a man dragging woman in red-shirt by hair, with soldiers and reporters staying by and observing, doing nothing to stop it. that story has been extensively followed in April and May on blog thaienews (this is just a latest their post on this matter – in APr and May there were many more), as well as on many Thai language forums and discussion boards. well, there is a latest update to that photo and story: it has won the TOP award of Thai photographers, and more – the Thailand Primer Minister Abhisit has personally presided over the ceremony and has given an award to that Thai photograper.
naturally there are so many people on net – bloggers and readers both – who are expressing their disbelief and other appropriate reactions.
because the award winning photo was:
1) doctored (edited in Photoshop or whatever – some important details were taken out);
2) misrepresented the events – the caption for this photo provideed wrong information;
3) thus it has been published and used for the purpose to LIE to public –
NOT to provide the factual information as photo-reporting supposed to;
4) in that way to deepen the social divide instead of mending it.
and the best part is that PM Abhisit, the so called “Democrat” who has ordered army to fire live ammo at protesters in April, the man who trumpets his efforts for “reconciliation and unity” – this man is going to participate in this MISLEADING event as a person who would give the award to DISHONEST photographer !
what can be said? “This is Thailand” as people in on-line forums say, when there is no more words.
there are many blog posts and discussions on this matter. the best summary of this shamefull event is described on Prachathai blog :
Despite its wrong caption, Thai Rath’s photo of a former PAD guard grabbing the hair of a red-shirt woman and dragging her along the road during the military crackdown in April has won the Best Photo of the Year Award from the Mass Media Photographers Association of Thailand (MPA). The MPA President explained it won because it is so vividly emotional that no description is necessary. Abhisit will preside over the ceremony on June 18.
On June 14, the MPA announced the results of its 13th annual contest (2008-2009). For this year, 600 photos and 46 television news clips were submitted to the contest which offered 35 prizes of about 700,000 baht in total.
The Best Photo of the Year went to the photo titled ‘Intolerable’ which captured the moment when a former yellow-shirt guard Kaweekrai Chokepatthanakasemsuk grabbed the hair of a red-shirt woman Mintra Soros, dragging her along Ratchaprarob Road on April 13 after she had reportedly reviled soldiers who were dispersing the red-shirt demonstrators. The photo was taken by Thai Rath’s crime reporter Prasith Niwesthong who will receive the King’s Cup together with a prize of 100,000 baht.
MPA President Wichai Walaphol explained that the jury decided to award the prize because the photo was outstanding and complete in terms of photographical composition captured during the melee. It can be seen in the photo that there were many photographers on the scene, but the photographer who took this photo stood in a particular spot, so he could take this unique picture. This photo is so emotionally descriptive that no description is necessary. The jurists voted for it unanimously, he said…
The ‘Intolerable’ photo was published on the front page of Thai Rath on April 14, 2009, issue, and was wrongly captioned as:
‘Intolerable: after the red-shirt mob resorted to the tactic of parking a gas truck near the Din Daeng
tunnel to ignite it, residents of the Din Daeng flats were enraged and gathered to clash with the mob.’
It was also found that the man wearing the green t-shirt who pulled the hair of the woman was Kaweekrai Chokepatthanakasemsuk, 30, former guard of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, not a Din Daeng resident as was insinuated in Thai Rath’s report… Kaweekrai’s camera and camera bag were deleted from the picture…
the photo and its incorrect caption misled the public into understanding that the man was one of the residents who were resentful of the red shirts’ gas truck incident or other actions during that time, and came out to handle the ‘mob’ themselves.
It was later found out that the man was a hardcore PAD fanatic who had long been against the red shirts regardless of whatever they might do on April 13, he wrote.
Mass media photographs are part of the reportage of the facts, as are the titles and captions. This photo, therefore, does not convey the facts, but a misrepresentation and a falsehood…
here is a follow up on Prachathai on this story :
the photo was doctored… The camera and case have been photo-shopped out of the ‘complete’ award-winning picture…
Now re-touching photographs for political purposes has a long and, thanks to the Mass Media Photographers Association, obviously honourable tradition in Thailand.
The image, taken by Thai Rath a Thai Rath crime reporter, was edited to remove crucial details. Combined with an incorrect caption it’s easy to say the photograph as published was misleading.
It says a lot about journalistic standards here that a manipulated image (and byline) have been accepted as the winner, but will this become the new accepted standard. I’ve mentioned it before, but a common complaint from people we interview is that, when printed, the story they have contributed to hasn’t been presented correctly. Is the saying, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” becoming the standard in Thai journalism?