Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

role of different Media in Bangkok war – Updated on Apr 18

There are lies, damn lies, and The Nation

from Twitter

Can you post this rubbish elsewhere?

– Thanong (Nation’s editor) in reply to critical comment on his blog

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong

– Voltaire

Humans have a natural proclivity to want what they cannot have.

(quote from: “Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires” )

This is an attempt  to provide a comparison of 3 main kinds of Media in their coverage of  current events in Thailand:  Thai MSM (mainstream media),  foreign Media and “alternative Media” (blogs, forums, social networks). of course I am sure there are many people who could do a much better job than me in this – I don’t pretend being any sort of a specialist, merely trying to  share  my own thoughts and what I have  seen so far  in this regard.

I just realized that my last blog post was more than a month ago, with update on Apr 10th, when first killing has started  in “City of Angels” (Bangkok) of the “Land of Smiles” (Thailand). I was more active on Twitter, and those interested  can read all the staff I find out there and retweet on my Twitter page : because it is just TOO MUCH  of an info  to be able to regularly post in blog. Twitter is more convenient.also see those people whom I follow – they in turn also have others they follow, and so on.  THIS is the best source of all information!

also please read those blogs in our blog roll, some of which have RSS links with their latest articles. all those blogs EXTENSIVELY  cover all the Media censorship, bias, and much more.  also  I have included Twitter section here on blog, which is  showing my latest tweets.

About local Thai Media

I guess the amount of  information was too overwhelming to digest and produce some more or less fitting blog post.  besides,  the Thai Media bias is too blatant and discussed too widely thus making  my own efforts (of exposing it on this blog) practically unnecessary:  there are just TOO MANY  people on internet, and even elsewhere (in communities, social groups, households, even on TV and of course on the main protesters’ stage)   who  constantly and variously, on all levels / in all aspects   expose  the  open bias of Thai media.  my favorite  is this one, a paraphrasing of famous Mark Twain’s  saying  in relation to Thai Media:

There are lies, damn lies, and … The Nation

from Twitter

it has and still is being re-tweeted over and over again by many.  😀

another reporter replies to Nation’s reporter Tulsie on Twitter:

Honesty & The Nation is a tautology.

On Apr 23rd, when some bombs exploded at Silom Road,  there was an incident when army pointed guns at police who tried to arrest  pro-gov trouble makers:

Police caught yellowshirts throwing molotov cocktails, but soldiers set up defence line to let them escape, threatened police with guns.

One Thai TV reporter  from Channel 3  who was there at the moment has given this information on Twitter. for that  she got troubles from her bosses (was fired?  but now seems re-instated). so, of course  it is not at all enviable job for sincere and honest reporters  to continue working in  their heavily censored, seeing too many things yet  forbidden to report the TRUTH !

Now though with army have openly announced the Ratchaprasong area in Central Bangkok as a “Live Fire zone”, and reportedly  snipers shooting anyone on sight –  practically ALL Thai reporters  left the area completely.

german news reports that army are shooting at anybody trying to leave Rajprasong and go home...

because  several reporters, both Thai & foreign,  were shot, one of them even from Nation newspaper itself.  people comment that  army / gov  doesn’t want any witnesses  to killing,  while motivating such step as  effort to “prevent information distortion”. here is some funny tweet :

MICT blocks everything – including the toilets.

They’re heroes to the “A-hole” revolution.

However  it is a desperate and useless attempt – because  despite the TOTAL  information blackout and very rigid  censorship (what censorship – complete closure of  ALL  anti-gov website as well as  even ANY more or less neutral, who dare to provide slightly  different version of events from the “official truth”)  foreign Media  and especially netizens  completely nullify the censorship of  Thai gov, and bias of Thai Media.

I would not  talk much about foreign Media, since  there are too many easily found articles all over internet, even by leading world known agencies as BBC (its HardTalk with Abhisit  was priceless – search for it on youtube !), CNN  etc.  but social networks  and  internet  forums are worth  noticable. sufficient to mention that  most of foreign media doing a MUCH BETTER job than Thai MSM  in presenting facts – which naturally causes outrage in Thai Media, gov and among those pro-gov supporters (so called “Multi-colored”).


UPDATE  May 18th

MUST READ Excellent sarcastic  “Open letter to foreign journalists” !

it is written in parody style similar to “Harrison George” (on Prachathai) or of “Not the Nation” website. 🙂  it is sort of trying to show the “logic” and reasoning used by all those people. for example after  Abhisit’s total fiasco of  answering  BBC Hardtalk questions – Nation’s boss Yoon  was furious and  was seen on TV  expressing his outrage and accusing BBC  as being “not professional” –  and who would say this but only not  Nation, whose blatant bias and lies has already become LEGENDARY  !  😀  LOL

here is another fresh example:  Nation’s senior editor Thanong  in his “blog”  is talking about “Propaganda war”  by red-shirts (anti-gov protesters):

The Reds propaganda war

According to him, “Abhisit government is losing out in this propaganda war…” – wow, what a surprise, huh ?  despite TOTAL most rigid  control of media and ruthless censorship –  somehow combined might of  Thai gov. + military + Thai MSM (99% pro-gov) + ASTV/ Maganer (PAD’s  media) –  they ALL of them lose in unleashed by them PROPAGANDA WAR ?  this is simply hilarious !  🙂

Read comments there too – despite Thanong rigidly censoring out comments he doesn’t like, there are still more than enough people who  instantly point out his obvious bias and fallacies. notice that particularly Thanong is upset with Alternative media (all the blogs, Forums, social networks, etc) – and rightly so, because they EXPOSE   Nation’s LIES !  🙂

especially I like Comment #18 :

the bottom line is that there can never be a peace and a healing of wounds whilst the cloud of lies surrounding these issues exist. As long as people like Thanong (the blog government spokesman) can tell people like Tom Finn to go away (A spokesman for reason), We will never see the truth in Thailand.
The Thai Government may say the foreign press is biased, they may say it does not understand Thailand, they say it listens only to the red shirt propaganda. This is a comforting viewpoint for the government, but it is totally false. The foreign media poured scorn on the war on terror, the Iraq weapons of mass destruction, they attack Obama, the EU, the financial crisis, now they pour scorn on the Thai government and its lame dog army. What the Thai government really means is that it is helpless to control the foreign media the way it controls its domestic media. As a result the unpleasant truth continues to leak out

so, Thai MSM  manages not only to lie professionally, but also launch  heavy counter-offensive against all those who criticize it or those who provide even slightly different version of  information than  what Thai MSM have.

strong dislike of Nation/ Thanong  of ANY critical (of gov) info clearly displayed in his reply to 1st comment, where author merely as posted some quotes from Amnesty International condemning shooting people, he replies furiously (Comment #2) : “Can you post this rubbish elsewhere?” RUBBISH ! this is what Nation calls something which is true.

so, no wonder they are so angry with foreign & alternative media !


Alternative Media

Khun Pluem (Nattakorn Devakula), TV anchor/ analyst and candidate for Bangkok mayor seat in last elections, has summed it up on Twitter :

Twitter, Facebook, SpringNewsTV.TV, TPBS, TNN, Prachatai, ThaiENews have replaced Ch. 3, Ch. 5, Ch. 7, Ch. 9, Ch. 11 [Thai TV channels]

….as the relevant news authority. Network owners need to wake up and understand that they need to cover the ongoing war in Bangkok

Please help pass on my twitter to FaceBook and all media. The time for inactivity has ended. Action is required to end the state of war.

This year around, comparing to last year (Black Songkran events) UDD protesters  have learned hard lesson of  importance of  media  and timely communication.  they have a whole team of  people whose full job is  conveying information to world community of internet users. also they have at least one  official English speaking  person named Sean who  deals with international media – he already appeared  on Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC etc. besides, there are just TOO MANY to count  volunteers (often called “cyber warriors“)  who  are now able to make a good use of  Twitter, Facebook,  youtube,  image hosting websites –  and  there are literally tons of materials all over internet.  so much that  gov’s MICT  simply can’t possibly  block them all.  there are a lot of Thai people  who lives abroad  and  participate in all those  discussions and sharing of information, as well as relaying information.  UDD  has also  live  video streaming on internet, and  so far despite all the attempts by gov  to block  each and every website  which  broadcasts their video –  many more appear  daily, as well as  many people have learned well how to use proxies and all sorts of gadgets and software to go around all that  censorship.

initially pro-government supporters (the so called “No color” or “multicolor” – in fact  rebranded  former yellow shirts aka PAD)  have unleashed their own counter offensive on internet.  here  one article on Prachathai website (by the way, now it is also blocked by MICT)  reported :

Red shirts losing Facebook war

(read comments there as well – it is worth noticing that in the West Facebook is considered as something like “forum for socially dysfunctional people“). but eventually I guess  they couldn’t  continue their online domination due to too many people  trying to  find the facts.  or another very likely possibility that it was rather a disinformation by PAD / gov  that  “silent majority”  (as they love to call it)  express their disapproval of red-shirts on internet.

well, of course,  as during famous “Twitter revolution” in Iran 1 year ago,  it must be noticed, that  those who actually have time and means to be able to afford actively participate in all such internet Forums and social networking systems – are mostly  predominately urban middle or high middle class.  while actually most  of  rural people, especially farmers,  can not even  afford to buy a computer – what to speak  pay a monthly bill for  High speed internet (ADSL)  – or even basic skills / education  as well as  very TIME  to be able to  rage  all over internet, as  all those PAD  and gov supporters  can do !  therefore  it is not surprising at all that  they “wing Facebook war”

but hey,  Facebook  is not the only place – rather it is just a tiny part of whole internet !  and beyond  FB    there are  just SO MANY  new blogs have appeared during past few months.  even foreigners  who merely visiting Thailand  or temporarily staying here   often  decide to  write on what they have seen, or share the photos they taken.

again, read all those blogs (see on the right),  for last  1 month at least,  and you will get some idea  of  how is it.  SO MANY  people  participate in discussion !

I think it should be pointed out that : many Thai language Forums such as Pantip & Prachathai  often have  the most fresh updates, and often info which is NOT being  shown in both local Thai and Western Medias.  I guess there are many Thai people out there, who are just curious, they go out and watch, record, listen – and then share their info on-line. Also I suspect very much that there are many Thai reporters  who being unable (forbidden)  to provide true facts  in their official reports,  choose to  share that info on-line.  there are also many  soldiers, police, officials  who also  use advantage of  internet anonymity and  provide info, opinions and analysis on net.

in fact,  yesterday it was mentioned that Pantip website  (as I heard – its owner is actually some yellow-shirt  person)   has decided to close its most active Ratchadamnoen room (one web-board section) – where usually the most  latest information, photos and videos are shared.  or perhaps  it was ordered to be closed …

as I was typing this post,  I see that there are 120 new Tweets  in my timeline on Twitter ! and I just follow merely 57 people. Twitter is  one of place to seek information nowadays.  even  the miserable Thai Demo-crap PM Abhish1t  has acknowledged  in his TV address yesterday that “social networks  become trouble” :

Abhisit said that the social media is a problem for Thailand: guess he’s sorry he can’t stop pictures of state sanctioned murder circulating.

one thing is interesting though :  when it was the so called “Twitter Revolution”  in Iran last  year (June 2009),  there was a HUGE   support  all over internet  by Western people.  however this time  there is no such support for  Thai  pro-democracy protesters – even though they are being  shot by snipers  in cold blood.  perhaps this shows  that  international public  is also quite biased ?  when it comes to Iran,  alleged “rogue state” –  there is almost instant outrage at  ruthless suppression of protesters.  but  in regards to Thailand, which has been known as “Land of Smiles”, tourist paradise and staunch ally of US in the region –  international public  is not as much outraged,  even though RIGHT NOW  what is happening in Thailand  is no better than that time in Iran.  many also compare it with Burma (Myanmar), saying that Thailand has finally shown its true face – same brutal military regime as Myanmar junta.  only covered by posh  malls, luxurious hotels and some elaborate imposed impression of developing democracy.

P.S. 200 new tweets by the time I finished typing this post !  have a lot to read  now.  so, I guess I am back to being inactive  in blogging, but  instead  to being active on Twitter !  🙂


May 16, 2010 - Posted by | Anti-establishment, Fallacies in Thai Media, Media Control, Propaganda, Thai MSM | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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