Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

MICT & ME take preventive measures against possible “Twitter revolution” in Thailand?

another interesting  news is  about MICT  new project to “pro-active”  (or shall we say “pre-emptive” ? 😉 )   project to  “Educate” the rurals about internet :

Thailand plans ICT community centre roll-out

Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has announced plans to build community ICT centres in all districts across the country, pending budget approval of 400 million baht (US$11.7 million) from central government.

The ICT centres will be open to all citizens, regardless of age and gender, according to Sue Lor-Uthai, Permanent Secretary for MICT.  People in the provinces will have access to digital and online content. The ICT centres will also be expected to serve as education hubs.

If approved, MICT will work with agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission and state-owned TOT Public Company Limited to roll out the project across the country’s 800 districts.

Just last month, MICT announced a 40 per cent budget cut in the fiscal year 2010, from 3 billion baht (US$87.8 million) to 1.2 billion baht (US$35.1 million).

Sue said he expects the budget for the project to follow from the second round of Thailand’s fiscal stimulus excercise.

I am sure that MICT (and others as Thai MSM, NTC and  police)  is fully aware about the  strong influence and role of internet  on local politics. that’s why it has previously unleashed its wrath on all the  blogs and websites of opposition, along with literal “Media Warofficially launched by gov.  back in April.

it is also interesting to notice that  presently most of  internet users in Thailand are  people who are largely PAD followers  or elite and also well-to-do  folks.

naturally peasants and  poor laborers, and even the poor middle class in cities,  can hardly afford to  buy a computer and pay monthly bills for phone-line and high-speed internet (which is essential for  being able to have even basic on-line “Chat” – what to speak of  watching YouTube  and other on-line videos or listen and watch streaming on-line TV or radio).  and even those who somehow manage to get such – they would still be too busy  earning money for their families  and not have enough time to  participate  in all the on-line forums, discussion boards, other social networks as MySpace, Facebook etc. or Twitter.

so,  I am sure that MICT  knows all this very well  and therefore  realizes about very low chance of anything similar to Iranian  “Twitter revolution” (which anyway  in itself is quite questionable – read articles  mentioned in comments here) – then why it is so concerned about making sure that rural Thais  get the internet access?

well, of course one of obvious reasons is – getting the kickbacks (pocketing some money) from the whole B400mln project. in other words – this ministry is trying to get its own “slice of cake” – after the  very recent approval of 2 giant loans by gov.

another reason – sort of PR campaign, to  try to improve its own image after  the  critisism by international  groups  of heavy censorhsip – sort of  “see, we are trying to  improve the state of public access to the modern technology and  facilitate freedom of speech“.

next reason is  also may be – sort of  winning the favorable  opinions of local public, like “we are actually dooing job what we’re supposed to –  improving the ICT  in the country and helping people to  get a better access to new technology” – as they say “ICT centres will be open to all citizens

but I think more important reason is  as I consider it as a clere  “preventive strike” –  because it is already mentioned that these MICT centers will be more like an “education hubs”,  which I guess is a clear indication that these centers will NOT be  sort of “FREE internet cafes for poor”, but rather a  centers of PROPAGANDA by government.  and I am almost sure that  certain  software will be already pre-installed that to filter, block, trace, spy on  the content  used by “all citizens“,  as well as  –  all the  “teachers”  and “instructors”  who would “Educate”  people there in those MICT centers would  undertake the rigorous training, and in fact probably would  act rather as  unofficial gandarmes  or watchers  of WHAT  those “all citizens”   will  read, search and view on computers in those MICT centers.

I mean,  the main point is , as saying goes: “it is too good to be true” !   why would the local Thai highly conservative  Establishment give ANYTHING for free,  and thus willingly  facilitate  the  risky  TRUE education of masses  – not some  large scale Propaganda and brainwashing ?

it also coinsides with the  notion expressed by PAD and many Thai academics that  rural people are  “uneducated” and “misinformed”  and that’s why they support Thaksin and his  political parties – that’s why  peasants  need to be “educated”  (0r as PAD said “re-educated”).

so,  this MICT  plan fits quite well into this design of “re-education“. and it seems like this is indeed some well orchestrated efforts, because the  theme of “educational hub” is present in similar campaign of not only MICT but also another Ministry – of Education:

Is Thailand ready to be an education hub ?

Thai governments like to talk about how they plan to turn the country into hubs for many things – from car production to medical service. The current government has floated an idea to turn Thailand into an international educational centre…

First of all, Thailand will not be able to become an education centre if the national education system fails to produce qualified human resources for the nation.

Education Minister Jurin Laksanawisit earlier this month said the ministry planned to spend Bt3 billion [almost $88mln] to turn Thailand into an educational centre by increasing the number of foreign students at home

However, the plan will not be effective if the rest of the schools and colleges in Thailand fail to keep up with international standards.

After all, the underlying objective of the educational centre plan is to improve the quality of Thai students by increasing their exposure to international students studying here. By promoting an international environment, the ministry hopes to inspire local students to be more eager to learn and to think in a world where everything is becoming closely connected.

The fundamental issue to be addressed is not school buildings or modern equipment. Instead, much effort must be put on the content side of our education. Modern buildings cannot guarantee quality of students, if the classroom teaching is still below par.

The massive budget for this purpose will be a waste if the money is aimed mostly at materials, instead of the quality of teachers, library resources and an effective curriculum. And these things take time. For instance, schools should inspire the students by providing books and access to information for students to research on their own, and promote the reading habit in students. Unfortunately, libraries in several schools and colleges do not have sufficient resources to respond to the students’ needs.

The monolithic Education Ministry should also be reformed to ensure the curriculum responds to the changing world. While the students will have more international exposure, the students should be aware and appreciative of their background to enable them to progress based on their unique character. [aka “Thainess” ? 😉  now, pay attention to the next  paragraph ! ]

It will not be a wise idea for Thai schools to copy the entire curriculum from other countries with different social and economic environment. [in other words – Thainess” nust be preserved and strongly instilled – ideas as “Unique Thai-style Democracy” ] An effective education system should develop the students based on their strengths and backgrounds. [aha, I guess class differentiation, or rather discrimination!  and here it comes, in next sentences : ] For instance, Thailand is an agricultural based country and many Thais live close to nature. Thus schools should help instil environmental awareness among students, and resource management [or to be “self-sufficient” ?  😉 ] should be included in the school textbook. Or, the study of history or the languages of our neighbouring countries should be promoted to enable students to better understand their backgrounds and others and to live peacefully in a multiracial world.

Finally, the aim should be to prepare students to become good global citizens. Therefore, the software side of this learning process should be enhanced [wow! I guess it means – software which would instil values and ideas  propogated by Establishment? ] . Otherwise, students would just learn how to memorise and they would not be equipped with sufficient knowledge to make good judgements [like : Calm, peace, solidarity” mentioned in previous post or “thou shall not vote for certain politicians and parties” ?] .

… the education system does not effectively encourage students to adapt what they have learned from the class and develop their own thinking.

The right combination [I guess that means:  “not too much of free and critical thinking, with strict adherence to ‘Thainess‘ “ ] of a Thai educational system with an international curriculum would help improve the quality of schools and students and make Thailand an attractive destination for international students…

Well, somehow I get the feeling that  there are well educated people in Thai gov.  who thoroughly and extensively read the  book “Propaganda” by Jacques Ellul  and implement the ideas found there to practice !  🙂   because  these  this whole “Education”  issue so much persued by  the present government  pretty well fits  into what he described as “Pre-propaganda” !  At this moment it looks like  gov. through its many Ministries  (MIST,  Education and Interior)  makes coordinated efforts to create the BASE  for the  further propaganda.  and that’s precisely as  Ellul  has explained it :

Education or what usually goes by that word in the modern world,

is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda

Primary education makes it possible to enter the realm of propaganda, in which people then receive their intellectual and cultural environment… The uncultured man cannot be reached by propaganda

So, I guess that’s what it’s all about this whole  “Education” campaign, using Ellul’s own words :

need of a certain cultural level to make people susceptible to propaganda

Because so far  peasants are too busy surviving to be properlyy susceptible to FULL onslaught of Propaganda  – their needs at the moment are too limited to most basic things as daily food to include Propaganda.  therefore they have to be “Educated” to become eligible “propagandees”  and thus actually start to NEED Propaganda !  😀

and I bet that  “Democrat” government of  PM Abhisit  is  steadily  achieving the goal of  this “Education”  (read: “Pre-Propaganda” ! )


June 24, 2009 - Posted by | Ajarns-watch, Anti-establishment, Media Control, Propaganda | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. surrealistically idealistic (or idealistically surrealistic?) story about all the possibility poor Isaan farmers may get from a broadband internet :

    Making broadband meaningful in Isan

    Tomorrow at the Oriental Hotel, the five CEOs of the Thai telecommunications companies and the regulatory agency, the National Telecommunications Commission, will meet for the first time in a coalition called Meaningful Broadband Working Group. They aim to map out Thailand’s broadband future. On the top of the agenda is a plan that these warring competitors may form an un- precedented coalition to bring the benefits of smart phones to the poor…

    read the story of Chai there.

    I think although it is exagerrated – it still shows quite well what a moronic propaganda this whole affair is.

    Comment by antipadshist | July 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Nation today :

    77 years later, and still less than full democracy

    Thanet Abhornsuwan, dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts, said the main obstacle to progress in Thai politics over the past 77 years was the elite groups involved, including the military and the bureaucrats.

    He was not convinced vote buying was to blame for the slow progress in Thailand’s democracy. He believed that was an attempt to pass the blame on to poorer people.

    He also did not believe that poor education was a major obstacle. “Education does not guarantee democratic development,” he said.

    Parinya Thewanarumitkul, law lecturer at Thammasat University, said failure in Thai democracy might be due to the fact that “we have no real faith in democracy.”

    He said that as long as the concept of “rule by the people” did not materialise, Thai democracy would be dominated by politicians.

    “The military could stage a coup because they simply seized the power from politicians, and not from the people,” he said.

    Comment by antipadshist | June 25, 2009 | Reply

  3. Twitter can be used by authorities to monitor and identify dissidents according to this article :

    “Revolutions” and the Politics of Networks

    … with special reference to the role played by the internet during the recent developments in Iran.

    computers enable the exercise of already-existing power much more fully than they provide the masses with means to distribute or contest it

    Few words have been heard more often lately than revolution. The word occurs in two ways, but the connection between them is at best fuzzy. First, commentators wonder if Iran is going through a political revolution. Second, they speculate about an “internet revolution”—not merely a change in communications technologies, but something more significant for democracy, for political organization…

    what does Twitter change? “The whole world is watching.” Well, we outside Iran can watch in much more detail than we could before. But since when is external observation an important part of revolution? It can help. But “we” have watched many failed revolutions from the outside. Does “our” knowing more of the details of the failure really change the situation?

    At the very least, the failure of the Iranian revolution shows that the thesis that “network openness” leads automatically or directly to democracy is false …

    so many of our commentators appear to live in a world where the equation between positive political change and network openness, or technological evolution, is so obvious as to be transparent. The hidden and most dangerous underside of this is that the only politics such people want most to examine are the liberatory potentials they have already decided are there…

    the fact is that the Iranian government is using the network to surveil its citizens, to anticipate their plans, to identify dissidents, and to counter them… Iran has kept the internet open because it provides them with much richer information to spy on its citizens

    there is a reason that it was a former Bush national security advisor who suggested, amidst the revolution-that-failed, that the Twitter developers deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, when in fact Twitter is being used to control and monitor dissidence. We have to find a way to explore in a sober way the political consequences of all parts of the computerization of the world, whether they fit or do not fit with our own hopes, and even to resist those parts of computerization that ultimately do not serve democratic ends.

    Comment by antipadshist | June 25, 2009 | Reply

  4. interesting relevant to “Twitter revolution” article elsewhere :

    Twitter: Power or Poser?

    Comment by antipadshist | June 24, 2009 | Reply

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