Just after Army Chief Phayruth came out on the military owned TV channels with his very political statement that the military would crack down on any Media outlets who were not putting out the correct information the Bangkok Post responded quickly. Although not in a way you would think a newspaper would, especially on their web page.
What did the Bangkok Post do that I personally find so vile. As a media outlet they bowed and groveled to the army chief. Soon after his "words of wisdom", more of a threat in reality, the Bangkok Post removed all their website reader comments that had been online for a day on anything concerned with the military and General Prayuth and now they don't even allow comments at all on these issues. In a heartbeat they capitulated their freedom of expression and media freedom passing it to the Military.
For Thailand to have a free media be it radio, TV or print they have to be allowed, without threat or intimidation, to put forward a variety of thoughts from all sides of the spectrum. I'm not talking subversion or fringe press, I'm talking the mainstream media here.
There is a reason that Reporters Without Borders rated Thailand (153) with less press freedom last year behind countries that we would all agree have little to no press freedom some of them we think of as third world. Cambodia, Ethiopia, Russia, Honduras, Columbia, Nigeria, Congo even Afghanistan and Pakistan are ahead of Thailand. Although we were 3 places ahead of the Philippines who had mass shootings of reporters last year as if that's a consolation.
Until The Thai Media has the courage to report neutrally even while under pressure rather than capitulate to the government of the time, the rich, the powerful or even worse the Military it's little more than a propaganda machine for whatever party is pressuring it.
The Thai people need to do their part in a couple of ways.
We need to get out and vote. Vote for the party or politician of your choice think about what will help Thailand, what will help you and your family, what will help your immediate area, and what is needed to move forward. Think about what you had, what you have and what you pope to have in the future. Then be sure to Vote.
We need to fight for Media Freedom. When you see something like the situation at the Bangkok Post, or the indiscriminate closing of radio or TV stations, without a court warrant, don't just throw up your arms in frustration. Say something. Say it to your friends, say it to your neighbor, say it on Face book or twitter, buy say something. Say it even if you don't agree with the views of the outlet. If you remain silent, the situation we find our self in, will just worsen. Be part of the solution to this very severe problem.
UPDATE:- In fairness to the Post one long term employee has contacted me and said they are looking into what was described as a 'Big Issue".
Labels: community radio, military, politics, thailand