Journalism: 4) Will Thailand’s mostly pro elite press, ever give reconciliation & amnesty a chance?

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By Tammy, Thai Intel humanity journalist

Thailand’s Army chief, Prayuth, has a lot of complain about Thai journalist.

He complained for perhaps 10s of times by now, that every time there is a controversial issue, horde of Thai journalist would run to him for a response. Prayuth says often, he had no intention to become news, but is pressured by journalist for a response, on this and that issue-that is currently in the news.

  • The question is, how much is this “Great Divide” in Thailand “Real” and how much of it, is “Media Manufactured?”

Looking at news media, like Manager and Nation Group, both oozing with hate Thaksin and hate Yingluck propaganda, perhaps, a great deal this Thailand divide, has to do with the level of “Hate” the Thai media “Deliver” to the Thai people.

“I am going to stop talking to the press,” says Prayuth, for 10s of times already. But somehow, the Thai press has always got a response from Prayuth. And much of the response is “Highly Controversial and Divisive.”

  • Local press reports that a poll just found, among other factors, the Thais believe that Thailand can achieve “National Reconciliation” if Thai news were neutral.

Here in Thailand, most news organizations, have taken a side in the Thai political divide. For example, Nation Group, Manager, Daily News, Thai Rath, and a string of extreme right-wing Fascist leaning newspapers, are highly anti-Thaksin and Yingluck.

Most TV News and Radio, also demonstrate a great deal of Pro-Abhisit of the Democrat Party, leaning. Some Thai TV journalist, for example Channel 7, exhibits strong hatred towards Thaksin and Yingluck. Additionally, there are a string of media, such as cable TV and IPTV that are part of this side or that side in this Thai political divide.

Abhisit of course, is against reconciliation and amnesty, so keep the Thai conflict alive for a chance to destabilize Thailand. As for the past 20 years, the Democrat Party, have come to power, by the elite power, exploiting that destabilization. Most of the Thai media, of course, is helping Abhisit achieve that strategy for power.

  • However, apart from a mostly, non-neutrality Thai news community, there is also concern about the way many Thai journalist, conduct news gathering and reporting.

The joke in Thailand, by media professionals, about some Thai journalist is that, quote:

  • “Thai journalist will give Thai politician their mobile phone to listen, while in communication with other journalist, when these other journalist are doing live coverage of other politicians. Then, when a politician just heard live with another politician have said, from the journalist mobile phone, will ask that politician for a response, to what the other politician said.” Then the cycle repeats itself, reactions on reactions, live conflict, arranged by journalist.

“Sieum”

I am not quite sure, if there is any equivalent word in English, but in Thailand there is a word, often used to describe Thai journalist, and that is “Sieum.”

  • “Sieum” is something like being in the middle of a conflict, but not as a neutral observer, but as a person who helps instigate the fight. Perhaps, not considering the “Getting Involved Attitude” the word “Sieum” is similar to the “Cheering Crowd” in a boxing match. The problem in Thailand, is that most of the press, cheering the boxing match, are pro elite establishment and anti Thaksin and anti Yingluck.

For a serious observation, many Thai media professionals have recognized, that Thai journalist contribute a great deal in spreading hatred in the Thai society, mostly, by not presenting “A Balanced Report” of arguments from all side. The theory is, “Bad News Sells” and the bast bad news, is “Conflict news.”

Take Nation Group various journalist twitter. All it does is quote mostly pro-Abhisit people, straight. And Abhisit people is known for highly aggressive and antagonistic words.

The “Straight Quote” of aggressive and antagonistic source flooding Thailand problem is compounded, by the fact that most Thai journalist, do not give context to their report or a background history to the news. Additionally, fact check is seldom done and worse, many Thai press, such as the Nation Group, will twist facts, data and graphic, to suit editorial position.

  • In sum, many Thais journalist, are accustomed to focus on “Sieum” in exploiting the differences, often magnifying it with a focus on the strongest exchanges of punches between parties.

Perhaps, that is the way to generate excitement and impact for the news, in seeing the result of that behavior of “Sieum” being a highly marketable commodity.

The overall problem is that “Sieum” is not reconciliation and amnesty, in nature. And that “Sieum” nature of Thai press, fit likes a glove with Abhisit’s Dems aggressive confrontational style.

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