Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

Apr 10 Updated: Role of Thai MSM in social unrest; govt curbs alternative media

Abhisit has succeeded in … making himself  look like a dictator ...

– Pravit Rojanaphruk ( Abhisit’s Dictatorial Face Revealed )

The government has gone fully fascist now

– commentator on Thai blog

The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies… Disinformation … makes

us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt, all things that lead to destruction…

Giordano Bruno (Disinformation Tactics)

Only with the help of Twitter yesterday were

non-Thai speakers able to find out what was going on

Richard Barrow

Thai “Democrat” government declares an Emergency situation in Bangkok and once again curbs more ALL Media (as if it wasn’t already under total control)

Live Blogging in English  here and here, here latest (this is of course, apart from AVALANCE or some say tsunami of  info flow all over internet !)

UDD’s own live blogging on Facebook, mostly in Thai (some comments in Engl).

and here is    THE BEST  story I found today  – all the world’s MSM “politically correct” news reports can’t match it !

Among other  Regulations :

2. Prohibit the release of news, distribution or dissemination of newspapers, publications or any means of communications containing content which may cause fear amongst the public or is intended to distort information leading to misunderstanding of the emergency situation to the extent of affecting the security of the state or public order or the good morals of the people throughout the Kingdom

No. 5. Competent officials shall the power to issue an order to inspect letters, books, printed documents, telegraphic transmissions, telephone communications or any other means of communication as well as to cancel or suspend any contact or communication in order to prevent or stop a serious incident provided that the rules prescribed in the law on special investigation are complied with mutatis mutandis

Current events in Bangkok, Thailand sort of a déjà vu of April 2009:  once again present government of so called “Democrat” party has declared an State of Emergency (SOE) to handle the situation caused by anti-government protests and army are preparing  to use force for this crackdown, while “red-shirts” (UDD) are mobilizing more people to confront them.  Although  it is reported that “PM emergency rule would not mean an imminent crackdown on protesters“.  According to Emergency declaration among other goals it was mentioned :  “to stop any attempt to disseminate false information in a way to incite division…”, which is translated into  controlling Media and any sources of information (from Twitter):

expansive powers given to authorities to censor/prohibit publications and

communications…  they can ban twitter communications if they want to

and can censor mobile phone content like access to certain blogs and forums – no doubt, deemed “disseminate false information” ! 🙂  or rather which attempt to provide an alternative  opinions and views on what is REALLY going on ? Earlier today government has already considered closing PTV station – which belongs to opposition and UDD (“red-shirts”).  Well, it is not at all surprising from so called “Democrats”, they have been doing it for a long time already. At the same time, Thai MSM has been repeatedly exposed as biased and extensively criticized, some of them even expressing their own doubts and disappointment at how they report information.

Here are some quotes from the most recent criticism of Thai MSM :

Given the ineffectiveness of the mainstream media, PPT reproduces Giles Ji Ungpakorn’s latest missive here… “

PPT has been posting for some months on the bias seen in the mainstream media.

We agree that there is a “horrible lack of professionalism” and more.

SOE Order 1/2553, [COPA] committee has power to disseminate correct info to

create good understanding between govt, people & instigators of disorder

PPT  refers to the article by Thongchai Winichakul on Prachathai website (we’ve been telling the same for months !) :

Thai media is part of the crime

The conflict today is partly the result of the atrocious media, esp TV. The government’s “interference” is not the only reason to blame. It is bad enough that the government have the full control of one TV channel with outcries only from a fraction of media professionals and none from media professional bodies. But the media professionals at major newspapers and other TV channels including the ThaiPBS do it out of their own biases and horrible lack of professionalism. The government may take some minutes to tell a lie live on air. But the journalists themselves intentionally report and unreport selective news at their own volitions.

Had they reported fairly, without even a tiny bit of comment, things could have been better. Had they showed the pictures of the troops confronting the Red demonstrator yesterday, without a word of comment, Abhisit’s lies that the soldiers were for public relations would have become a lie. Had they reported fairly, without a single syllable of comments, people would form their better views about the conflict and solutions.

The mainstream media right now not only fails as a professional media. Instead they are successfully becoming a Rwanda-like media.


Let’s hope some day they will be responsible. Although I doubt it, because history shows otherwise. For example back in 1976 events (Thongchai Winichakul was one of the students’ leaders then) when many protesters have been slaughtered by para-military ultra-right thugs, the whole thing has also started because some Thai MSM newspapers has published some doctored photos, thus causing a very strong reaction from already too radical  conservatives. Were they EVER  held responsible? well, the most they did was – Bangkok Post has “apologized” for that case, and even that was done mostly because rival newspaper has raised this issue mostly for reasons to decrease their ratings as a competitors. THAT’S ALL ! Thus I doubt it very much that anyone of Thai “reporters” would ever be held accountable.

here are some photos of  LRAD Xtreme which you can’t

see on pages of Thai newspapers due to their blatant bias

Long Rang Acoustic Device (LRAD) ready to be used on protesters

LRAD truck on stand by for crowd dispersal on the streets of Bangkok

Jotman has some posts back in Sep 2009  of LRADs used in Pittsburg, USA.

He did some research which shows that LRADs were used in USA in 2004, 2005, also in Georgia in 2007.

See related post on another blog regarding to censorship and Media Propaganda.

Update Apr 8.   PTT reports :  Prachathai website has been shut down.  (it is true, I’ve checked it).

however it has been reopened here ,  the question – for how long before it is closed / blocked again).

Here is  Prachathai’s own article on the matter:

[Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey] said CAPO has successfully blocked all the signals of the People’s Channel, which is operated by the pro-Thaksin United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).  Sathit added that there has been progress in its efforts to “ban the spread of disinformation intended to incite violations of the law

independent online news portal was also blocked by order of Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban. Aside from, 35 others, mostly pro-Red Shirt political websites, were also ordered shut down. According to executive director Chiranuch Premchaiporn, INet, the company that hosts the site, confirmed to her that it had received a court order to close down the website…

from Twitter:

In Suthep’s words, those 36 websites have been banned as they disseminate news that may be a danger to national security

NEWS ALERT – unconfirmed – Thai government to begin tracking “anti govt elements” on twitter and other social media

It is also mentioned closure of PTV, community radios, more rigid internet censorship (as if it wasn’t already rigid enough). and besides all of that, apparently there is a massive onslaught of   “anti-anti-government” (aka anti red-shirts) comments in Thai related blogosphere and expatriates forums.  apart from that, there is separate campaign by pro-government academics :   Yellow academics (see also “300 academics campaign against early House dissolution“)

(read here section “Government Disinformation Methods“, which mentions control of academics/ experts/ specialists.  section previous to that one, called “Dishonest debate tactics” is also related to  the  clever usage of Thai “ajarns”  in Thai Media and government Propaganda)

Some hilarious  spots in CAPO’s  Statement addressed to official foreign missions :

As some foreigners might misunderstand the current political situation in Thailand, the Prime Minister would like the ambassadors to explain and give correct information to foreigners, and point out to them that in addressing the political problem, the Thai Government strictly adheres to the spirit of democracy and would avoid using force to resolve the problem. However, the Prime Minister admits that this will have to take some time, as Thailand at this juncture is in the transitional period towards more matured democracy.

What a cynical joke,  talking of “spirit of democracy”  and silencing  ALL opposition  media, and even any media slightly alternative to the official  version. Abhisit and his bunch of “Democrats” are such a real hypocrites, read post by BP, quote of  Abhisit’s own words back in 2005 when he was a leader of opposition : 

Abhisit: Press censorship only allowed in a state of war

Press censorship made possible by the laws is against the Constitution, which says clearly

that it can only be invoked under the state of war. We are definitely not in the state of war

An interesting article on Nation (interesting by the fact that Nation bothered to post it):

Thai Journalists Association, Thailand Cable TV Association condemns blockade of PTV broadcast, closure of website

The joint statement said the actions were unconstitutional and double standard law enforcement.”

Update  Apr 9

What is interesting, somehow only Nation TV channel (on TTV)  is more or less showing regular updates  on developing situation. Their reporters use i-Mobile cell phones video function to make video-calls directly to studio right from the  spot, where the action taking place. although video quality is pretty blurred, at least it gives a feeling of  better staying in touch with situation.  All other TV channels  apparently show only  post-edited footages.

Outraged by closure of their PTV station, today  UDD / Red-shirts has  taken over ThaiCom  company after clash with riot police (water cannons, tear gas) – although it is not clear what was the whole point  of it, if anyway  reportedly  all the company staff  are absent on the premises of  company. so,  if Red-shirts just wanted to protest – why it was necessary to storm the building?  If though their actual purpose was to  make ThaiCom  management to re-open the  PTV, and there is nobody to do that – then  what red-shirts can do about it?  can they do it by themselves? if not – then looks like it was  useless, even though they have declared a victory.

Nation reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk’s article  re-posted by Prachathai :

Decree shuts down red media and those deemed sympathetic

this article provides some details on how gov has been enforcing its  censorship of  protesters and

even ANY alternative (such as Prachathai) media: radio stations, mobile phone MSM networks, etc.

PPT  has few more posts on censorship :

Massive censorship

SEAPA condemns censorship in Thailand

AHRC on CAPO, censorship, and public morality

BP posts :

Commentary on the blocking of Thai media

Academic comments on the political situation

Prachathai :

Media Crackdown a Mistake, Say Analysts

Censorship and policing public morality in a state of emergency (AHRC – Asian Human Rights Commission )

PTV and websites blocked to stop spreading hate (later on ThaiCom has resumed satellite service to PTV after UDD’s clash with riot police there)

Update Apr 10

surprising article by Nation :   Some attitudes towards red shirts shameful

although still many many criticize same Nation for obvious bias, or for repeating gov’s  bias :

al jaiezra/reuters/the strait times report live rounds fired

by army.. the nation says these are poppers i guess?

well, obviously rigid censorship of  “Allowed” (MSM) Media and total blockage of  all alternative & opposition’s media  was exact;y for that purpose: to prevent leakage of  such REAL  facts !  although apparently it is very hard for MICT / gov/ army/ MSM  to  control all the information with “citizen journalists“, as  some commenter points out :

It has been apparent for several weeks now that many of the red shirt demonstrators live and work in Bangkok and do not have to travel 8 hours on a bus to get to the demonstration sites. They are connected together and coordinate their actions by multiple levels of text messaging, mobile phone networks and wifi/internet. It seems that every single demonstrator and red supporter in Bangkok has a mobile phone which is in almost constant use.

All of the government controlled TV stations have switched away from their live news coverage of the crackdown. NBT is doing sports, TNN & Thai PBS are showing documentaries. Same with all stations on air!  Combined with the reports of the troops retreating at Makkawan Bridge, this would appear to be an attempt to block all negative information flow and news in regard to any troops/police retreating. But with so many distribution channels and so many witnesses and so many mobile phones, digital cameras and video cameras, it is not possible to totally block the information flow in such a gigantic city as Bangkok with so many elements of modern technology present.

With photos of red demonstrators showing bullet wounds coming out of many news/media outlets around the world, it would appear that Col. Sansern is either mis-informed or in a state of denial.

In any case, having decided that the optimum timing for the crackdown was broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon in a city of 16 million residents plus innumerable tourists with thousands of digital cameras, mobile phones with cameras, tiny HD video cameras present and and infinite number of WiFi hotspots and internet shops on every block, it is no longer possible to control the information flow through military and government spokespersons.

Forget about TV: I am staying glued to Twitter to see what’s going on in Bangkok” – from Twitter 😀

Looks like even Abhisit is also staying glued to his laptop and himself gets his news Updates not from Thai MSM  (coz he himself ordered Thai Media blackout) but from Twitter :

Thai PM Abhisit in his office on Apr 10

Abhisit also gets his news from Twitter? 😀

So, this time around (comparing with last year events)  Thai “Democrat” government and prostituting to it Thai Media are not as successful in their “Media War”  – although God (or Buddha) knows – do they so desperately try very hard !!!  🙂

Minister of Information Panitan asks the public to seek information from media for the updated situation. However, (he warned) one must be careful not to send wrong info, he added.

(What does exactly Panitan mean by the ominous term “wrong information”? Information that is factually incorrect, or information that is factually correct but might be embarrassing in some yet-to-be-defined way by the present government? Sounds very “1984″, very totalitarian state, very “North Korean” or “Burma Junta”, not like “Thailand” at all, a country which is totally interconnected with the world economy, a country visited by 15 million tourists a year from all over the world, a country where every citizen seems to have a mobile phone, a country where there are internet shops on almost every block, a country whose very name, “Thai Land” in English means “Free Land. Who is Panitan speaking for when he makes such threats and how will Thailand’s 65 plus million citizens rreact to such a draconian decision to curb their access to the world’s information flow? Surprisingly enough, there are some journalists working at some of Thailand’s largest media outlets who are applauding Panitan’s and the present government’s stance.)

And it is a fact:  now there are already a lot of Thai people, among 65mln population, who now on many Thai language Forums themselves call their own countryTorlea-land” (“Joke land” or “Land of jokers”) instead of Thailand – reflecting that  there are just too many things plainly and blatantly ridiculous.

More and more heavy censorship, or rather complete Media blackout is ordered:

8:30PM Bangkok Saturday Evening April 10t

Prme Minister Abhisit’s Office Minister, Thaland Democrat Party Member Sathit Wongnongtoey has ordered the Thailand Government’s Public Relations Department to instruct cable TV entrepreneurs all over Thailand to stop broadcasting content which is distorted or meant to instigate the public. He has also asked similar cooperation from internet service providers.

and of course it is  precisely for  covering up the real fact, as some comment :

so the narrative is: police were using rubber bullets, red-shirts were

using real bullets, and miraculously 2 redshirts get shot in the head.

(see youtube video – Warning, very graphic !)

Nation reporter Tulsie has said on Twitter :

My big boss @suthichai has ordered our reporters at clash site to leave the area as soon as they can.

Of course I can’t blame them – according to latest news,   Japanese Reuter reporter Huroyuki Muramoto was also killed during heavy fight.

A good  article  by Photo_journ, constructive critical analysis  of  UDD’s mistakes in ensuring share of  information:

Media wars – How to fail at international media relations the UDD way

Unbelievably stubborn shamelessness of Thai Media (Bangkok Post here)  in continuing justify censorship, despite the misleading title of its op-ed:

Censorship is doomed to fail

In giving the reasoning for cutting PTV’s signal, Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said ”the authorities needed to suspend the broadcasts because the content contained distorted facts and was aimed at inciting unrest”.

This is certainly valid to an extent and it is an important point. All media have a responsibility not to inflame passions and to strictly adhere to the truth, especially in a climate as volatile as the present one.

Sure,  Thai Media  “adheres to truth”  very much !


April 7, 2010 - Posted by | Ajarns-watch, Anti-establishment, Media Control, Propaganda | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] foreign tourists, since the battles even raged through the backpacker ghetto of Khao San Road. Alternative media has been able to get the truth out, despite government attempts to control the information flow. […]

    Pingback by The Crackdown in Bangkok | Lee Jones's blog | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi Anti-as promise the academic name is Pramuan Boonkarnvanich-and he teaches at a top level management school in Paris. That is all I have sorry. But his paper is called how Thai business build net-work through marriages in Thai business families.

    Oh, you want to collaborate on this crack-down thing?

    Comment by thaiintelligentnews | April 10, 2010 | Reply

    • thanks for info !

      what you mean by “collaborate” ? 🙂
      (like “To cooperate treasonably, as with an enemy occupation force in one’s country” ? )

      I just merely trying to follow what’s going on , as well as expose Thai MSM bias

      Comment by antipadshist | April 10, 2010 | Reply

  3. no probs 🙂

    yeah, I know, many are pissed nowadays, especially many Thais themselves – that’s why they protest. thks to you too for undeserved praise & commenting.

    Comment by antipadshist | April 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi Anti,

    Awesome coverage from a pro. Sorry the other day I got so pissed at the Thais I said F–k them. Sometimes it gets to me like everyone else. And Thai Intel have a short fuse as you know. And thanks for commenting.

    Comment by thaiintelligentnews | April 8, 2010 | Reply

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