There are lies, damn lies, and The Nation…
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”
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.
why I am not surprised ?
“The government will launch a publicity campaign at home and abroad to counter the propaganda of the red shirts, PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey said on Tuesday. The media war will be designed to counter the smear campaign of the red shirts and explain the true situation to the international community,” he said.
He said police and public prosecutors were obligated to enforce the arrest warrant for red-shirt co-leader Jakrapob Penkair who remains at large and claims to have fled abroad. He said relevant agencies, including the Office of the Government Spokesman and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will rebut Jakrapob’s interviews given to foreign media outlets. He added that the government was closely monitoring whether the red shirts would carry out the threat of organising rallies in 10 provinces before marching to Bangkok.”
It sounds almost same as Yoda in Star Wars: “The Clone War has begun … ” 😀
So, Total Information blackout (blocking ALL the opposition media: TV & radio stations, 67 websites, rigid censorhip of Forums and blogs, not to mention strict censorship of Thai MSM) is not enough, MICT is “powerless” (as Bkk Post reported) – now government mocks itself by chasing the shadows – directing its resources to wage “Media War” ? I mean – this is pathetic ! the term “Media War” is mostly journalistic as I know. It is not normally used in political matters. Certainly I never seen anyone literally DECLARING “Media War”.
“Democrat” Abhisit and his “Democrat” government only embarrass themselves more by such funny declarations.
They still hide their head in the sand, obssessed with Thaksin and all sorts of conspiracies (as “Network Thaksin”), and are not even able to realize that their efforts are vain NOT because of allaged Thaksin hiring all the foreign reporters (BBC, Economist, WSJ etc) – but because the LIES which Abhisit’s “Democrat” government spins and Thai Media echoes in chorus are simply TOO BLATANT and too obvious ! therefore the more there is “official denials” – there more people of all the walks of life will try hard to dig for the TRUTH !
This is the world of Telecommunications and IT ! the whole world is inter-connected. Silly Thai “Democrat” rabbits still don’t get it: you can’t shut off the whole wolrd, or be shut away from the rest of the world ! Unless you build a HUGE wall around Thai borders several times biggers than Chinese Great Wall, cover the whole country with foil dome to screen it from incoming radio waves, and totally isolate the country in all possible ways !
In former Soviet Block countries people knew the common truth: “The more the are rules and restrictions – there always be more ways around”. It is a human nature – reflected even in Bible as “forbidden fruit”. If you want to make sure someone to try doing something harder – the best way to do it is … TO FORBID IT ! Humans are curious creatures. Take away something from them – they want it more, so much that almost can’t live without it, although while they still have it they may be don’t even pay attention to it. So, this is tru even for trivial silly things. what to speak about FREEDOM – which is considered one of the “Essential Liberties” ?! Essential – because it is something people normally can’t live without, like air and food, water.
So, Mr. Satit should know better, and especially Oxford Educated Abhisit !
UPDATE Apr 21st 2009
Bkk Post has a fresh discussion going on on this subject : “Is it necessary?” – she means this anounced by Government “Media War.
So far there are just a few comments (perhaps coz this appeared in Thai News just today), but it is interesting to see what Bkk Post readers think about it.
Does the Nominated Government honestly think people will just stop reading and searching for the truth in the cyber world and concentrate on their propagandas they launch? Can they really twist the facts? … So what creditability is there left of what the Nominated Governemt intended to launch? They can shut a few thousand sites to forbid us from reading but they can’t shut the whole world up or can they?
I tend to agree with this comment, at least with first part :
It could be that the headline is simply overdramatic if the Govt. had launched it’s own youtube channel then I would understand the headline’s sensationalism of what is most likely the Govt. simply providing information to the media that it see’s as the people right to know.
I also think that perhaps Nation in the best traditions of “Yellow journalism” (“eye-catching headlines”, obsession with sensational and overly exaggerated subjects) have simply used a catchy phrase (don’t look at me – I’m not a media Empire, I can use such name for my blog ! 🙂 ). Perhaps Government didn’t even say exactly “Media War” but something like “campaign”, and Nation either translated it at their own whim, or found a dramatic headline.
Are guys on nation being too Paranoid ? 😀
another good interesting thread started by the same author as above mentioned:
To sums it all, my understanding of reconciliation is putting the People voices in the first agenda and not the Politicians changing of words in the constitution nor should it starts in the parliament but start with the word “Fair” and “Justice”. The rural had heard talks for years until Thaksin came along, so don’t talk anymore Abby [Abhisit], action wins a thousand words and that’s what Thaksin had done, you want to beat him, beat him with listening to the voices of the people and take swift action. The majority of votes is in the hands of the rural, without them, you can never win nor can you permanently stay on.
Wise words ! well, let’s hope “Abby” may open his ears.
There is also another thread continuing ever since Apr 10th, the beginning of the “Black Songrkan” events in Pattaya. It is too long (already 27 pages), but I guess worth reading:
“A people’s revolution has been going on for decades that culminated into the 1997 constitution. Sept 2006 and subsequent events made it clear the ruling establishment will not allow a people’s revolution. Violence, while a highly volatile term that conjures up dramatic images and should never be supported, is not the real issue. A people’s revolution is.“
This entry sounds very promising of a good discussion. Well, I guess that fact that it already continues 11 days on 27 pages confirms that.
To me it is just interesting to see that people are AWARE and discuss all the matters quite actively.
So, apparently Media / Government Propaganda doesn’t reduce the number of thinkers, rather perhaps provokes them more.
here are just a few pieces today from Thai Media
The Nation is first of course – many consider it undisputed leader in pro-government Propaganda (although some may say that Bkk Post are on Nation’s heels competing) :
By Avudh Panananda
Published on April 21, 2009
“The future of Thai politics hinges on how well Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva addresses two key issues related to the Songkran mayhem
The first issue is how to stop the no-holds-barred struggle in which politicians do not draw the line at parliamentary means, but rather mobilise supporters to fight in the streets.
The second issue is how to dismantle the propaganda campaign designed and used by red shirts and yellow shirts alike to rouse the crowds…
The first step in fire-fighting is cutting off the oxygen… [= TOTAL Information Blackout ? 😉 ]
The yellow shirts and the red shirts owe it to society to fight fair by dismantling the propaganda machine. [WOW! Look who is talking – a BIGGEST and perhaps the MOST SHAMELESS Propaganda mouthpiece – The Nation ! ]
The rival camps are free to pursue their respective aspirations, but they do not have the right to brainwash society. [but of course! as said in that hit song: “Nobody but … you” hahaha so, ONLY The Nation has the right for the MOST SHAMELESS Propaganda – nobody else ]
The dust will never settle if the rival camps continue to propagandise. [ in reality though it is rather: “if the The Nation and the rest of BIASED Thai Media continue to propagandise” !!! ] “
so, basically this “good fair and balanced PROFESSIONAL reporter” Khun Avudh calls for … MORE Censorhip and Information Blackout. which I understand is – good for business, when THE ONLY source of information will remain those who align themselves with “Official Truth” – preferably of course ONLY The Nation 🙂
however it remains to bee seen how sucessful Abhisit and his so called “Democrats” would be in their “holy crusade” to silence the TRUTH
even already now it looks like they are loosing, as BP bloggs:
The information and communications technology minister (MICT), Ranongruk Suwunchwee,
refuses to meet with the two state telecoms enterprises because she is effectively powerless,
says a government source…
of course, most likely this Minister will be replaced (according to stories, she has no any education remotely related to IT industry anyway – )
The Nation at least provide pretty cool entertainment with their Editorials, Opinions and “Blogs”. Chief Editor Thanong is “one of the best” clowns as usually.
read BP’s comments on Thanong latest masterpiece :
The last PAD conspiracy was the ridiculous Finland Plot which their readers/viewers lapped up.
It is precisely because they are so closely connected that they can’t be objective and that is why you shouldn’t rely on them now.
here is one last example, from today’s Nation’s front page article:
well, the article itself might be alright. however the photo they have posted is :
This is practically a blatant slur hinting on his sexual orientation which would be instantly condemned in many Western countries, and in some as in EU it would be even a Legal liability or Hate Crime in the category of racial discrimination : “Article 21 of the charter prohibits discrimination on any ground such as race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, disability, age or sexual orientation and also discrimination on the grounds of nationality.”
However Nation newspaper doesn’t bother much about it – I am sure for them it is just a good joke, a fun.
Although – what it has to do with Political issues and even with the Professional journalism ?
It is not a wonder that PAD’s blog instantly liked the photo and added its own choice :
BTW I LOVE the name of this blog: “PAD’s Facts Info” – particularly the word Facts ! I am sure it is full of fun to read. 🙂
Nick has presented his brief, in his own words incomplete narration (“do not take this as a complete account“) of the Black Songkran (2009) events in Bangkok and Pattaya which he has witnessed himself and documented very well in his professional photos.
I think that although it can’t be considered a masterpice by so called “professional journalists” (aka “embedded journalists” from MSM ), as well as just a brief, abreviated account – nevertheless this story may tell much more than tons of “Official truths”. therefore I request everybody to read it on NM blog :
one of the Nick’s pics :
Nick’s previous live-blogging of the events of Oct 7th 2008 now called by some as “Black Tuesday”: What happened on 7/10/2008?
In this latest article he has a good part dedicated to the so called “Blue shirts” and their role in these events – so far as I can see this is the second (after Nirmal Ghosh) mentioning them at all both in Thai and even Foreign MSM. Blue shirts and so called “local residents” are actually disguised PAD guards and some regular army / navy. and there are even videos taken from Thai TV of one politician Newin Chidchop commandreering them, who also seen in another footage with Deputy PM Suthep Thugsuban ( this spelling of his last name I’ve taken from Nation 🙂 – I think it is quite explanatory of why he hired Blue Thugs !) and some army officers.
I am grateful to Nick and Nirmal for letting the world know about these Blue thugs !
“On April 7 there was news that a new group of Prem supporters had gathered in front of Prem’s residence at Thewet. They wore light blue neckerchiefs, and called themselves a spontaneously founded citizens’ group – the “Glum Rak Pandin Goed” (The Group that Loves their Land of Birth). Most of the few dozen people had difficulties remembering the group’s name, and garbled it when I asked them. They walked in and out of the army installation next to Prem’s residence, mingled with the soldiers there. I met many PAD guards who I knew from the government house occupation of last year, and who remembered me as well.“
“On April 8 the march to Prem’s residence began… Police told me that they sent the blue neckerchief guys home at 7 am, by that time there were 300 odd.”
“That night I decided to follow the protesters to Pattaya… Friends who were there already told me that Blue Shirts were present, and that there was a brief clash between Red Shirts and Blue Shirts, where some Red Shirts were injured by stones thrown at them. I had already once tried to find out more about the so called Blue Shirts, rumored to be a group set up by Newin, when they were seen at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the beginning of this round of protests, but my search was fruitless when I drove there… ”
“At about 6 am I went to the security zone around the Royal Cliff Hotel. On the bottom of the hill there was a roadblock by the security forces, the first line was the Border Patrol Police (BPP), the second line was the Army. I was at the Tourist Police station halfway up the hill when suddenly several hundred Blue Shirts walked out from within the security zone. One blue pickup truck with Blue Shirts sitting in the open back appeared transporting wooden clubs. I took photos. The Blue Shirts objected, but I did not care. A soldier told them to drive further down the road. I followed on foot. At the bottom of the hill, several dozen Blue Shirts hung out at the road block. Several Blue Shirts carried the pieces of wood through the Army and the BPP lines, and distributed them to their friends, who lined up in front of the BPP. I recognized some Blue Shirts as PAD guards, and they also remembered me from the Government House occupation. Others of the Blue Shirts very much looked like soldiers (I was told later on that they were Navy personnel from Satthahip).“
“Apparently one or two Red Shirts were shot by Blue Shirts, but I am still confused about when exactly that happened, during the brief clash, or during the previous night. Red Shirt leader Arisamun Pongruengrong demanded that the government deliver the responsible Blue Shirts to justice. He held a press conference inside the entry area of the conference building of the Hotel. Several Red Shirts have shown off a sack of blue shirts that they found during their approach to the Hotel.“
“There is no doubt that things went completely wrong, and also the Red Shirt leadership has to take responsibility for much that happened. When they declared their D-Day, and their indefinite protest at Government House, they overestimated their abilities, they also overestimated their ability to control the deep-seated anger and sense of injustice among their supporters. I refuse, however, to accept the present tone of the Thai media that demonises the Red Shirts. Much of the escalation is the responsibility of the Government. How, for example can it happen that PAD guards and Navy personnel can appear disguised as “Blue Shirts”, who have collaborated with the security forces, as is proven beyond doubt, to engage in clashes with Red Shirts? That was not the decision of a local commander – this has been a top level political decision.
This is reminiscent of the dirty games and strategies of the 1970s, of extreme right wing militias, such as Navapol and Kratingdaeng, who with high level government and military support acted as agent provocateurs. Are we really back in this dark era of Thailand’s history? Have we not learned one thing?“
well, here we go ! as I said in my previous posts – Government, Thai Media, PAD and Military are aligned together to CRUSH the Reds. of course there are also a lot of elite, academics and buerocrats on their side. their combined effort has created this situation which lead to the tragic events of Black Songkran – NOT the “viloent nature” of UDD protesters, as now all these groups work so hard to convince the public separately and jointly ! I’m glad that there are real journalists who care about THE Truth and are sincere to express their opinions and present such true facts.
I am sure that more and more evidences will come out eventually – there are a lot of people out there with consience after all !
In this regard, elsewhere (thanks to PPT for tip ) there is a a fresh article about growing awareness of Thai public about this Propaganda War :
“ “The radio stations were closed because they were being used to incite violence,” Buranaj Smutharakas, Democrat Party spokesman, told journalists. “The right to free speech ends when it is being used to call for violence.” ” – mind you, this is “Democrat” speaking, officlal spokesman of ruling Democrat party !
well, by now there a lot of people who have no doubt anymore about the first part – that THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH ENDS … by “Democrats”
“Yet the act of censorship … has inadvertently exposed the bias that grips local media. Mainstream print and broadcast media were not censored – they had portrayed the Democrat Party-led coalition in a positive light…
“The newspapers were not under pressure from the government. They chose to do it [ Self-censorship ! ] because they like the Democrats and their backers, hate the reds,” a senior television journalist told IPS on the condition of anonymity. “So they have not to worry about censorship.”
The mainstream television stations were under some pressure, he revealed. “My boss was told by a powerful person not to run pictures damaging to the military or to the government.”
The current round of censorship that targets the ‘red shirt’ media has parallels with the media policy of the country’s last military regime…
‘Red shirts’ have been seething at the “one-sided” coverage of the mainstream media. “The press in Thailand is with the government. It is like a business partnership,” said a 47-year-old resident of Bangkok who gave his name as Somchai. “They have let us down. They cannot be called a national media.”
“We cannot trust the Thai journalists, because what we know is not reported… We depend on websites and foreign media for the news…
The people are angry, because what the newspapers and television have said about them is not true.” “
so, yes – odinary people, whom Elite and well-to-do Bangkokians despise, mock and insult, constantly villify as “uneducated, ignorant, STUPID” – they are not that stupid after all ! they DO know the truth – that it is NOT on the pages of Thai MSM or TV channels – it is out there, in “virtual” space aka internet. that’s why government has dedicated enormous resources to this IFORMATION BLACKOUT and assigned its ICT Ministry a “holy crusade” task to SPY and to block all the websites which in government’s words “distort” the truth.
People are AWARE ! they learn to “read between the lines” and watch out for “Official denials“.
that’s why now on many Thai forums (and shared by e-mails) there curculate quotes like this one:
“How can you possibly make any difference? Individuals have no power in this modern world. That is what you’ve been taught because that is what they need you to believe. But it is not true. This is why they are afraid and the reason that I am here; to remind you that it is individuals who always hold the power. The real power. Individuals like me. And individuals like you. I have come to offer you a deal. If you accept, I will give you a different world. A world without curfews, without soldiers and surveillance systems. A world that is not run by other men but that is run by you. I am offering you a second chance.” — from the movie “V for Vendetta”
I also recommend to read the Comments to Nick’s article – as I can see, there are many of both Thai and foreign journalists prasing him, as well as fellow bloggers.
Of course I’m nobody, but I felt like expressing my own gratitude for this presenting the truth. so, here is my comment left for Nick:
GREATEST RESPECT to Nick for a good example of TRUE unbiased journalism !
it is a huge relief that still there are good genuine journalists like this.
TRUTH has no color. however in this situation I tend to think that this time truth is on Reds side. because there is a theory by some other great journalists that the real truth is subversive – which means, it usually comes from the GRASSROTS or from the bottom down to the surface. while “Official truth” which is HANDLED down from the top in most cases is either a blatant PROPAGANDA or it is very biased, censored (as well as SELF-censored) and very limited – typical characteristics for “Embedded journalism” (also read here).
yet somehow truth finds its way to the open sooner or later.
this Nick’s great account is one more confirmation of that for me!
Nick, you said – “it is not a complete account”.
I can understand very well what you mean.
so, I am sure that many of us here will be waiting with great anticipation for your COMPLETE ACCOUNT
once again: GREATEST RESPECT !
UPDATE June 21 2009
this story has very astonishing developement – this Thai Rath photo has won the Year’s Best Photo award of MPA !
thinking about the role of Media again …
Here is an article which provides a glimpse upon how/ why journalism has changed and turned int what is now called Corporate Media,
which helps to understand the Thai media as major player in what is going on in Thailand today.
written back in 2000
“Print journalism was once synonymous with reporting, but a great deal of bread-and-butter reporting is now in the hands of lowly paid anonymous practitioners…
There is less checking of facts all round… There’s more dependency on PR guff. Press releases can provide a cheap source of copy, and companies can helpfully eliminate the time and cost of research. PR companies provide free travel to exotic locations for their friends in the media…
Struggling to maintain their revenues, newspapers can at times become more preoccupied with concocting new liftouts and obsessively redesigning their pages than with solid journalism. Good sub-editing is perceived to be so unimportant that it is often confused with pedantry. Over-reliance on computerised spell checks does not help…
Desperate for circulation, even the best papers succumb to a kind of creeping tabloidism…
To boost their revenue in a world of declining circulation and overweening advertisers, the media look avidly for supplementary sources of income. Traditionally this took a variety of forms and led to that well-known enemy of good journalism, the cross promotion… papers involved suddenly discover a preternatural interest in matters alimentary that defies real news values…
THE DECLINE in profitability of traditional media, with all its adverse effects already noted, has led to a significant investment by the main companies in new media…
So this is the way the news, as we once knew it, ends. In traditional media, journalism has evolved from a mystical craft of unbylined subversives to a profession dominated by a well-rewarded elite protecting their share prices… In the new media, the information gatherers are almost as anonymous as they were half a century ago, but certainly not as reliable… If, as it seems, there are not enough discerning readers/viewers out there to reward quality and to cause unprofessionalism to wither, we may well be experiencing the slow death of the journalism …”
the above article is by Aussie author, country-man of Rupert Murdoch (who is actually a central persona in this article) –
now one of the biggest magnates owning giant Media empire, – and John Pilger, one of the last remaining true journalists.
I want to quote here J. Pilger again, he is my favorite, and I think he points out a lot of things very relevent to Thai media too :
“It is time those paid to keep the record straight gave us the opportunity to debate informatively. In the 21st century, people power remains a huge and exciting and largely untapped force for change, but it is nothing without truth. “In the time of universal deceit,” wrote George Orwell, “telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” “
“… This was journalism as it had been before corporate journalism was invented, before the first schools of journalism were set up and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around those whose “professionalism” and “objectivity” carried an unspoken obligation to ensure that news and opinion were in tune with an establishment consensus, regardless of the truth…
liberalism as a narrow, supremely arrogant, war-making ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality…
As for historic moments, there is another that has gone unreported but is well under way – liberal democracy’s shift towards a corporate dictatorship, managed by people regardless of ethnicity, with the media as its clichéd façade. “True democracy,” wrote Penn Jones Jr, the Texas truth-teller, “is constant vigilance: not thinking the way you’re meant to think and keeping your eyes wide open at all times.” “
” unprecedented study by three UK universities which found that, contrary to myth, 80 per cent of the media followed “the government line” on Iraq and only 12 per cent challenged it… What is refreshing about the new British study is its understanding of the corporate media’s belief in and protection of the benign reputation of western governments and their “positive motives” in Iraq, regardless of the demonstrable truth… “humanitarian rationale” became the main justification for the invasion of Iraq and was echoed by journalists. “This is the new ideological imperative shaping the limits of the media…
it is time those who run media colleges began to alert future journalists to their insidious grooming.”
“The title of this talk is Freedom Next Time, which is the title of my book, and the book is meant as an antidote to the propaganda that is so often disguised as journalism. So I thought I would talk today about journalism, about war by journalism, propaganda, and silence, and how that silence might be broken. Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented… As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called “professional journalism” was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear respectable, pillars of the establishment—objective, impartial, balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so well, “entirely bogus”.
For what the public did not know was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources, and that has not changed… That is the essence of professional journalism…
Consider how the power of this invisible government has grown. In 1983 the principle global media was owned by 50 corporations, most of them American. In 2002 this had fallen to just 9 corporations. Today it is probably about 5. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there will be just three global media giants, and his company will be one of them…
Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that principle has been upheld ever since…
normalizing the unthinkable… that’s what media clichéd language does and is designed to do—it normalizes the unthinkable…
journalists had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies…
Harold Pinter’s subversive truth, I believe, was that he made the connection between imperialism and fascism, and described a battle for history that’s almost never reported. This is the great silence of the media age. And this is the secret heart of propaganda today…
… most journalists, whether they realize it or not, are groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural center, the very fulcrum of modern life. This may very well be the most powerful and dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended. This is liberalism. I’m not denying the virtues of liberalism—far from it. We are all beneficiaries of them. But if we deny its dangers, its open-ended project, and the all-consuming power of its propaganda, then we deny our right to true democracy, because liberalism and true democracy are not the same. Liberalism began as a preserve of the elite in the 19th century, and true democracy is never handed down by elites. It is always fought for and struggled for…
as for the Democrats, look at how Barak Obama has become the voice of the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the propaganda organs of the old liberal Washington establishment…
Real information, subversive information, remains the most potent power of all—and I believe that we must not fall into the trap of believing that the media speaks for the public…
In all the years I’ve been a journalist, I’ve never know public consciousness to have risen as fast as it’s rising today. Yes, its direction and shape is unclear, partly because people are now deeply suspicious of political alternatives, and because the Democratic Party has succeeded in seducing and dividing the electoral left. And yet this growing critical public awareness is all the more remarkable when you consider the sheer scale of indoctrination, the mythology of a superior way of life, and the current manufactured state of fear…
public was beginning to see the concealed role of the media, and that people were beginning to read between the lines… they need truth, and journalists ought to be agents of truth, not the courtiers of power…
I believe a fifth estate is possible, the product of a people’s movement, that monitors, deconstructs, and counters the corporate media. In every university, in every media college, in every news room, teachers of journalism, journalists themselves need to ask themselves about the part they now play in the bloodshed in the name of a bogus objectivity. Such a movement within the media could herald a perestroika of a kind that we have never known. This is all possible. Silences can be broken…
The challenge for the rest of us is to lift this subjugated knowledge from out of the underground and take it to ordinary people.
We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship. This is an historic shift, and the media must not be allowed to be its façade, but itself made into a popular, burning issue, and subjected to direct action… ”
well, I don’t know … There is just too much relevance to Thailand and its media in these words, I think.
I wish at least some of Thai reporters could read them, as well as ajarns, other intellectuals and all thoughtful people out there (like, perhaps – the “Cyber Warriors” ?).
Because resistence to the Propaganda of Corporate media isn’t impossible with modern technology as internet.
Establishment is very well aware of that and that’s why they are in hurry to block / control/ censor all those alternative sources of information, which challenge the “Official Truth”.
It’s funny and interesting to find this more than 110 years old term :
Nope – it is not in realation to PAD ! although no doubt they employ a lot of it. surprisingly, it pretty well describes the Propaganda style by most of Thai MSM :
“Yellow journalism is a type of journalism that downplays legitimate news in favor of eye-catching headlines that sell more newspapers. It may feature exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, sensationalism, or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or journalists. Campbell (2001) defines Yellow Press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion… By extension the term is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion, such as systematic political bias. Yellow Journalism can also be the practice of over-dramatizing events.“
One typical example of “Yellow journalism” regularly found in Thai media – is their obsession with Thaksin. blogger Golingai has already described this tendency as “yellow fever” :
“The PAD crowd has a jaundiced opinion of Thaksin, blaming him for anything negative that happens to them or their country…”
“A propaganda war has begun in Thailand … ” – Nirmal Ghosh (in Anti-Thaksin royalist leader shot)
Nirmal was a wintess af Pattaya Reds & Blues clash and blogged LIVE from the spot, and usually does good investigative journalism it seems.
Today I was quite surprised, while reading Nation’s recent articles, to find this one,
which indicates how very well Thai media are aware about ongoing “Media war” (or War by Media ?) :
Editorial (by Yoon himself or Thanong?)
Dated: April 9, 2009 – which is next day after UDD/ “Red shirts” mass rally started on Wed Apr 8th, also as I recall a day when UDD blocked Bkk traffic at city’s important traffic hub Victory Monument, and day before the “Red shirts” lead by Arisaman appeared at ASEAN summit in Pattaya and were attacked by Blue shirts there after delivering their Letter of protest -the event which startet the riots in Bkk, heavy crackdown on Reds, Emergency Decree (still in place) and Total Media Blackout.
here are some quotes, check it out :
“As tens of thousands of red-clad protesters rallied in Bangkok yesterday in their bid not only to topple Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government but also to abolish what they called “bureaucratic polity” [aka “amatayathippatai” or shortly Amart], the Thai media was caught in the crossfire. [Really? wouldn’t it be rather more accurate to say: “completely sidelined with “Official truth” ?] Over the past weeks, news consumers have heard several terms that the protest leaders use to claim they are fighting for a certain ideology. The media’s challenge, or main task perhaps, is to report the claims, mudslinging and developments without aggravating the situation while making sure that professional requirements are also fulfilled. [WOW! “professional”, huh? that’s rich, coming from Nation ! 😀 ]…
The current political crisis has come this far, thanks largely to the use of information technology [My take is – here Nation tries to blame Internet sources as blogs, Forums etc – certainly NOT the Thai MSM]. The yellow-shirted leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy managed to spread their views via cable TV, while the red-shirted demonstrators are doing the same.
Thaksin knows well the nature of the press [So does, even to greater extent, his nemesis Sondhi Lim 🙂 ], that the newspapers and electronic media will certainly report what he says in their headlines the next day, and that’s the reason he uses video links to spread allegations against his political opponents…
Several of his claims have been dismissed as groundless, but still they find their way into the mainstream media [Oh ! what a shame, huh ?! 😉 looks like Nation’s miscalculated in its pretentious attempt to look as “fair and balanced”]. Readers and TV viewers have been confused by these allegations. The media has so far played the role of messenger for both sides. The intention is admirable for the media is simply trying to balance their views. However, the media – albeit unknowingly – has inflamed the political tension by falling into the traps of this political game. [I almost started to believe genuity of Nation’s adherence to “professionalism”. this part though sheds the light on what actually they mean as Media’s role: 1) NOT let “allegations” get into MSM; 2) counteract whatever “allegations” with “Official truth“]
Over the past few weeks, the local press has tried to report what both sides say, as is their duty as members of the media. The leaders of both sides seem to understand very well the nature of the press and they try to manipulate media space to their advantage. Certain incidents have been leaked to the press without verification.
Some journalists and news outlets take a neutral political stance while others clearly reveal their political affiliations. [what a revelation! taking into consideration Nation’s blunt Thaksin-bashing as well as demonization of Reds, and in gerneral “vilification or poor rural people” as AW mentioned in recent radio interview] This is normal in a democratic society and Thailand should cherish the fact that the Thai press has been able to exercise its freedom to report so far.
However, the ongoing political crisis is very sensitive, and if the press is not careful about how some things are reported, the result could be an explosion of violence. Some reports might result in misunderstanding and cause more division in society. Therefore, journalists must ensure that they don’t report news in such a way as to inflame the crisis.
The media should try to verify all comments, especially those that seem irresponsible. The media should report the news within the context and provide useful explanation about what is really going on in Thailand.
Although Thailand may be able to pass through this crucial week peacefully, Thais might not gain a better understanding of what democracy is all about. After all, what is happening in Thailand right now shows that Thais are anxious to fulfil their role in our democratic system.”
so, this Nation’s Editorial seems more like insrtuction to other Thai reporters on … SELF-CENSORHIP !
well, of course many of things said in this article have good points – only if Nation itself would have followed its own words, instead of plainly alligning itself with “Official Truth” !
Sondhi’s case: Update Sun Apr 19th 1pm (Bkk time)
meanwhile we can witness the ongoing Media War: Reds’ / UDD ALL TV, radio, websites are being closed/ blocked by MICT; Thai MSM try hard to present the “Official Truth”; some opposition PT party MPs try to voice their version of events.
The most interesting developement is on another (apart from government’s and Thai media’s) Propaganda front by major player – from PAD / Yellows.
Their ASTV channel is being quite busy, as well as their publications.
Especially in relation to the attempted murder case of PAD’s founder, ideologue, leader, and ASTV manager Sondi L.
The statements by PAD do not point to UDD as suspects, but rather into another direction. Some information has already came out.
So, Sondhi’s case adds entirely new twist to Media War, with things said by Sondhi’s son, who happens to be ASTV senior manager
“Sondhi L’s son Jittanart Limthongkul … said there is a new form of war by a group who want to create a new government consisting of the police and army in neutral gear (ie who won’t take the “necessary action”), one Minister who has great desire, and politician(s) behind the blue shirts.”
“third force, comprising a clique of military and police officials, are plotting to take over the government, sidelining both the Red Shirts and the Abhisit government…
“Gestapo state” is being formed as the base for a new political force that’s “as bad as the redshirts.”
A new form of war is emerging — it’s being launched by the collusion of certain police and military officers. They are plotting a new coup. It is said that a minister, who is said to be involved in the attempted assassination of a privy councillor, is actively behind this new exercise…
this group of plotters was employing “assassins” to hunt down those they consider their enemies…
The red-shirts can suddenly turn blude shirts. This plot has many levels…
Sondhi’s son said the incident at the Interior Ministry last week when Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva came under attack had been planned “to kill the prime minister — and put the blame on the red-shirts.”
Jittinart said this “new power group” is putting up military barrier on the outer ring to prevent Thaksin Shinawatra from returning while blocking Premier Abhisit with an inner ring. He said: “The people like us must be united and don’t let them hold us hostage.“
SR further comments:
“The minister actively involved in this new exercise would be Sanan Kachornprasert -he is the minister reportedly linked to the assassination attempt against Charnchai …
it is interesting that Jittinart does not immediately point the finger at the Red Shirts for the hit attempt on his father, but instead goes after elements of the security services and Sanan…
Matichon details the four groups cited as plotters by Sondhi’s son:
Group 1: Top police officials (that do not act) neutral gear
Group 2: Soldiers (that do not act) neutral gear
Group 3: One cabinet minister with great ambition
Group 4: Politician(s) behind the Blue Shirts
It is a propaganda war at the moment. Hopefully, time will reveal the “real truth” of what is happening. The Yellow Shirts have every incentive to use this incident as way to discredit their opponents, though the possibility is still there that they are correct in what they claim.”
So, term “propaganda war” is being used time and again in many blogs nowadays ! which gives me a lot of confirmation that my observations are correct.
apparently there are a lot more articles by Thai reporters lately – although somehow they are mostly published as Opinions –
which I guess indicates that these are NOT the official line of each particular newspaper.
I see these as a good signs and hopefully these journalists will help to create a SHIFT in public perception of and attitudes towards the recent events ?
here they are, with brief quotes :
By: Dr. Prawase Wasi – a well-respected senior citizen
“A society in which justice is not seen to prevail is bound to be locked in conflict and violence…
The problem of injustice, however, is very complex and consists of many dimensions – from an individual awareness and way-of-thinking level, to the social structure, mechanisms and public policy… the issue of fairness is much more complicated and difficult to administer… “
there is practical suggestion given – 10 areas to concentrate reforms on. Read the whole article !
the following I think is a DISGRACE to journalism and entirely opposite of previously mentioned articles.
the whole article is practically a one big whole DEMONIZATION effort – nasty dirty trick in argument which instantly discredits the person who uses it !
here is its best part:
“And as we all saw, there was this woman in red who was screaming at the top of her voice, bansheeing away at a group of residents: “Don’t you care for democracy? We’re fighting for you all. Whose side are you on. Theirs (the military) or ours…” Thwack! One chap punched her smack in the face. Democracy or misogyny in action? Whichever, that shut her up for sure.” [my personal opinion: coward bastard who is only a hero against woman – No wonder most of Thai women gladly prefer farangs ! ]
Alrighty ! I guess – Freedom of Speech in action. is this guy Thirasant Mann a journalist ?! 0^O
Mind you – this is not an accident or isoleted incident ! see in this video with another so called “reporter” (from channel 5? he looks like wearing military uniform) drags woman by hair because she and her friend confronted his team and accused of BIASED coverage of events ! THIS IS JOURNALISM ?! SHAME on this bastard ! as well as on Thirasant Mann – the one who wrote the above sh1t. These people have no slightes idea about real basics of true journalism: fairness and non-partisan neutrality ! and it is because of them such a polar antagonizm exists in Thai society and HATE ! WHAT RECONCILIATION can be even discussed – if reporters so SHAMELESSLY take side and impose their lack of civility upon the masses of people ?!
To prevent Thaksin from manipulating local grievances for his own purposes, the government should take concrete action to win over the trust of moderate reds by listening to their complaints, respecting their legal rights, supporting the search for the missing and setting up a forum for dialogue.
To tackle the root of the reds’ dissatisfaction, the government must confront and fix the structural injustices maintained by social inequalities that are endorsed by what are deemed to be “cultural values”.
Good valid points !
BTW, mentioning of “Cultural values” looks like the echo of KhiKwai’s (one of my favorite blogs in Kokosphere!) recent great article: Thai Culture and Democracy
“There is a tendency among people to come up with a mono-causal analysis of problems … But the real root cause lies in the fact that the existing cultural setup may be lagging behind the process of social transformation in both the domestic and global scenes… Looking for an answer? Look deeply into the culture and the educational system… “
I guess its’ a positive-message article, which at least points out the fallacy of concentrating on single individual (Thaksin), rather than looking deeper (and wider?).
Now, here is an interesting piece, especially because of its authorship! It is written by Suranand Vejjajiva – yeas, a cousin of Thai PM Abhisit himself, regular columnist on Bkk Post and and who happens to be one of banned 111 TRT members – on the opposit side from his more known relative. 🙂
“Suranand Vejjajiva served in the Thaksin Shinawatra cabinet and is now a political analyst”.
alright, here it is:
“Academics, politicians, the media and representatives from all walks of life are airing their opinions and recommendations on what actions the government should now take, ranging from the resignation of the PM, the dissolution of the House of Representatives so that a fresh election can be held, the setting up of political reform forums, to constitution amendments.
In my opinion, whatever course the government takes, Thailand will not be able to resolve the deepening political conflict if we do not sincerely debate, discuss and agree upon certain basic assumptions.
At least three fundamental principles need to be addressed and reaffirmed to be able to start the healing process with the final objective of rebuilding a workable democracy for Thailand.
First, the role of the military in a democracy must be made clear. In principle, the military must act in accordance with the legal boundaries and constitutional requirements while answering to an elected government… military’s role as a security force is also being questioned…
Second, in a democracy mob rule cannot dominate. Majority rule and minority rights must be respected. The rule of law must be upheld. Both the red shirts and the yellow shirts overstepped the boundaries…
At the same time, the government must open up to take in the concerns of the protesters – red, yellow or any colour and interest. On the part of the red shirts, no matter how emotional people are about ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, in the long run he is the least of the nation’s problems. As I have argued before in previous articles, Thaksin’s interest is a subset of the larger injustice many people who don the red shirt feel…
Anek Laothamatas’ theory of song nakara, literally “two worlds,” provides an analytical framework of the gap that exists between the rural poor and the urban middle class. The divide is exacerbated now by the force of globalised capitalism. The rapid change created insecurity within and between various groups in Thai society: monarchists, the old elite, the military, the technocrats, the new rich, the middle class and the poor, urban and rural.
A reformed political structure must therefore be designed to incorporate, not discriminate, the different concerns and interests. It must be pluralistic in nature with equal opportunity for all to participate in.
The third and probably most important task is to strengthen the institution of the monarchy…
The institution of the monarchy must be held high. The rest of us must deal with our disagreements and conflicts under the pluralistic democratic framework. Such is the main feature of a democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
Understandably, these are difficult and sensitive issues that no one person can provide definite solutions to. But only through working together to address and agree upon these fundamental principles can we then start the healing process and permanently mend the deep wound.”
I think it is very intelligent piece and well balanced. Have his cousion already read it, and would he try to employ these advices ?