by Frank, this blog political journalist
Wire service, such as Reuters, AFP and Bloomberg, are being asked to help by foreigners in Bangkok breach the Thai government re-new drive on “Political News Blockade.”
The Thailand Political Prisoner blog reported today, that political news is being banned in Thailand-taking Thailand to the level of China, Myanmar, Vietnam, and North Korea in keeping political discussions to the minimum.
“There seems a push to keep monarchy and politics stories out of the press,” said Thailand Political prisoner blog, today.
- Wire Service Critical:
Over the past few weeks, many foreigners in Thailand have been turning to foreign wire service and are asking for their help in breaching the Thai government news blockade.
“Apart from a few English language blogs on Thai politics, there is very little coverage on Thai politics that foreigners can rely on, as being independent news and information. We need better wire service around here, on a day to day basis, actually,” said Peter, head of the British Sukhumvit Club.
“Even the Thais are relying on social-network for most of their information, and that is leaving us out of the real information loop. We really need more reliable information on Thailand and if the wire service does not step up the frequency of their Thai coverage, the expatriate community here will start to be lead by the tail by the Thai government,” said Stuart, British media expert at one of Thailand’s leading publishing house.
- Purify Thailand:
The move, according to Thailand Political Prisoner string of reports on the far right Government control of Thailand is that there is a trend to “purify” Thailand to the far right, in an attempt to project itself as “Good and Clean” and all that opposes those views as “Dirty, Dangerous and Corrupt.”
According to Political Prisoner Thailand, the Thai prime minister, last year, opened and funded a campaign that urged the Thais to report on other Thais of conversations that deems dangerous to national security. Thailand Political Prisoner also reports that the government funded Thailand’s army to use psychology warfare specialist in a massive campaign that met with most villages in Thailand.
Both of the above tactics, that Thailand had used, have been widely used in Mayanmar, one of the most repressed countries globally.
- Political News Banned:
The media move appears to be a continuing on that trend-that have saw about 25,000 web pages banned by the Thai government. That Thai internet banned, again follows similar move in some of the most repressed countries globally.
Thailand’s media experts, the opposition party of Puey Thai, including Taksin, the exile leader of the Red Shirt, have been noting what Thailand Political Prisoner had.
“The government controlled TV news in Thailand had a hard time with the ratings because of the propaganda, and thus most Thai TV news has cut political coverage to the minimum and injected entertaining rubbish news to replace much of the political news,” said Karn, who produces television shows for the Thai military controlled channel 5.
Taksin, himself also twitted today, urging young adults to turn to the internet for their news and information, as he said “All of it out there are government lies.”
The Thai opposition party Puey Thai, also made a statement last week, complaining that all the TV and most of radio stations, are not giving the opposition the opportunity to voice their positions.
Chatuporrn, a leader of the opposition, said last week, “When we were the government, the Democrat Party came up with statistics that showed 80% of the political coverage was on us as the government and complained bitterly. But now, we are getting no coverage and all political news have slowly disappeared from all government controlled press.”
- Information Blockade Breached:
Most political observer in Thailand said the government had failed in its propaganda efforts as Thais simply turned to alternative to government control media for their news and information.
“The Thai government is putting the death touch on Thailand’s traditional media. Free cable TV and the Internet are exploding in popularity,” said Saprang, the owner of a satellite dish manufacturer to Tharn Sethakij, a business newspaper-that reported on an explosion of the cable TV business in Thailand.
“We are now competing with internet TV and as far as I am concerned, traditional media is history,” said Saprang.
- Not Solving the Problem:
One academic said last week that the government is not help solving anything, by banning political coverage.
“If you look on the positive side, the government could be trying to pacify the Thais out of political interest because Thai politics had been very destabilizing to Thailand. But if you look at it on the negative side, it clearly is un-democratic control through censorship that will benefit the government. My take on it is that this is just another sweeping the problems of Thailand under the rug and forget about it, rather than dealing with the problem,” said Thung, a professor at the Rachapluck University, Rachasrima.
- Concerted Efforts on Censorship:
Thailand Political Prisoner also reported today in the latest case of government scrutiny of political speeches in Thailand-following a long track record of watching and following all speeches that are deemed dangerous to national security.
“It is a top down and bottom up approach, that involves all key communication channels of all types, in controlling the flow of information in Thailand,” said FACT, or Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand.