The Mainstream Media’s Normalization of Censorship and One-Sided Information about Thai Monarchy

Years of mainstream mass media self-censorship on any information and news critical about the Thai monarchy and their incessant supply of mostly one-sided and positive-only information about the royal institution is unlikely to change anytime soon since there’s no outrage or even public introspection by major media associations and corporations.

It is likely that after five decades of one-sided information and self-censorship, such things have become something rather normal and natural for media associations and organizations. When the Thai Journalists Association (TJA), the kingdom’s leading media association, recently held a symposium to marked the annual World Press Freedom Day, the issue of the lese majeste law, self-censorship of anything critical of the monarchy and the one-sided positive-only information about the monarchy was not on even the agenda.

The growing cry for basic freedom of expression after the death in custody of 61-year-old lese majeste detainee Amphon “Akong” Tangnoppakul also seems to means little and it’s business as usual for Thai media.

The Thai mainstream mass media can come up with a number of off-the-record justifications for why they cannot and will not adhere to the notion of press freedom when it comes to anything critical of the monarchy.

First, there’s the lese majeste law itself, with its 15-year maximum imprisonment term, coupled with the Computer Crimes Act - easy excuses for the media to censor, self-censor and say they are just observing the law.

They say advertisements on newspapers and commercials on television can also be severely affected if a media corporation developed a reputation of being critical of the monarchy.

One newspaper editor also once told me of the fearful spectre of big media corporation facing stock price crash due to ultra-royalist’s backlash if they dare to try to be persistently critical of the monarchy institution.

To make the matter worse, some in the media say they believed that most Thais are not educated enough to be able to differentiate fact from fiction, right from wrong.

If we, journalists, failed to recognize the abnormality and negative repercussion of the lese majeste law and the prevailing climate of fear, censorship and self-censorship, then we fail to live up to the ideal of informing the public with fear or favour, about an institution which is at the heart of Thai society.

Journalists who failed to see the abnormality and to speak out are first to be blamed because they have effectively acted as a willing and active partner in the censorship process as well as the supply of one-sided positive-only news and information about the Thai monarchy.

To be honest, it is hard to imagine the prevailing stance changing anytime soon. Perhaps the burden of pointing out the abnormality of the situation falls upon the growing number of ordinary citizens who recognize the magnitude of the problem.

Perhaps it all will have to start with a few journalists daring enough to call spade a spade, and for the public to demand transparency and accountability from both media corporations and the royal institution.

On Twitter, I have onerously tried to open up the debate on the lese majeste law and the need to discuss critically about Thai monarchy.

On Monday (May 14) one Twitter user by the Twitter account of @Shar_Thonglor argued with me stating in English: “Thailand is not ready for freedom of speech. There’s lot of maturing which needs to be done before they can handle it.”

Another Thai Twitter user (@polasit) replied in English: “The same old thing – Thais are not ready cuz of being [sic] uneducated. Freedom of speech has nothing to do with that!”

Even a Westerner, by the name of Rob von Gelder (@steadirob), joined this particular thread of debate by tweeting back to @Shar_Thonglor and myself saying: “And who are you to preach and tell the people that THEY are not ready? You must think very highly of yourself.”

Perhaps there is some hope after all, even though it’s not to be found on mainstream mass media in general. 

Comments

To make the matter worse,

To make the matter worse, some in the media say they believed that most Thais are not educated enough to be able to differentiate fact from fiction, right from wrong.

Some in the media?! Look at them trumpeting the views of the poor dimwitted starlet who seems to assume, among other things, that just because the Royal Thai Kangaroo Kourt imprisoned Amphon he was actually guilty, when even the Kourt admitted that it was imprisoning Amphon because he couldn't prove his innocence!

The media must assume that ordinary Thais have fallen for the Big Lie just as they, and poor dimwitted starlets, have themselves.

It is the Kourt that cannot tell right from wrong ... or cannot be bothered to make the distinction. Their definition of their job seems to be to punish whomever is presented to them for punishment. The more brutally the better. In fact it seems the more wrong their decision, the more arbitrary their imprisonment the happier they are. Perhaps they're working on Richard Nixon's madman theory? The Thai population will be even more terririfed of them if they appear to be truly arbitrary, crazy and unpredictable people?

"for God's sake, you know the Kourts are obsessed about lese majeste. We can't restrain them when they're angry - and they have the power to imprison anyone, at anytime, for anything!"

They are presumably 'educated' yet they are an Inquisition, cannot or will not distinguish right from wrong, and make no bones about it.

"The growing cry for basic

"The growing cry for basic freedom of expression after the death in custody of 61-year-old lese majeste detainee Amphon “Akong” Tangnoppakul also seems to means little and it’s business as usual for Thai media."

Akong's SMSs were death threats - considered threatening communications and punishable with jail time in ANY COUNTRY. It is not, never was, never will be considered "freedom of expression."

Pravit knows this - I know he knows this because I gave him the link to go read the SMS's himself. So we know he read Akong say he was going to "stomp" on specific people's faces, and that the Democrat secretary should tell specific individuals, and their entire family that "they're all going to die."

Pravit willfully ignoring this and continuing on with what is now clearly the US State Department's "human rights" mantra worldwide - as expressed through their funded propaganda fronts including Prachatai - calls into question his credibility, his real agenda, and of course his objectivity.

He also loves to defend Somyos - whose "Voice of Taksin" magazine likewise made overt death threats, calls for violence, and jeopardized the lives of specific individuals, their families and neighbors by PUBLISHING ADDRESSES PHONE NUMBERS PICTURES AND NAMES of ruling judges handling Thaksin's various cases.

http://2bangkok.com/10-RedPublications1002b.shtml

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Pravit reveals his hand. He is peddling a political agenda, not objectively covering national events. But he does so as if he were a journalist.

Calling these people "political prisoners" and framing this as an issue of "freedom of expression" is not only morally, intellectually and factually bankrupt, but endangers REAL freedom of expression for people globally - it diminishes a very real value by disingenuously applying it to the criminal acts of these individuals.

Pravit is defiling not only his own reputation and credibility, but journalism and human freedom in general.

Tony, if you are giving

Tony, if you are giving people links, and also accessing yourself, the information for which people have been jailed for, then you yourself are guilty of crime. Given you have admitted to distributing the information publicly, you would be sentenced to the exact same sentence old Uncle SMS got. 20 years - and you just admitted your guilt online.

Perhaps you should think about that, Tony. You just broke the law and are now in the same boat as all these other "evil" people you keep taling about. If one of us here bothered to actually follow up your admission of guilt, and you went to jail, there would be other royalists out there just as stupid as you, saying you deserve to be there because you were distributing death threats about the monarchy. Of course, we both know they'd be wrong, right? Or would you stick to your official stance of guilty without proof or reason or rationale?

Actually, one of you human

Actually, one of you human rights advocates who knows Tony (perhaps Pravit or someone) should report him, just to give him a kick in the stomach. I know it goes against principle, but I've got a feeling going through the process of being victimized may be the only way to get the message across to these self righteous royalist fascists.

At least if Pravit goes to

At least if Pravit goes to the SMS link he can read it. TC can't even quote these messages - allegedly sent, and then by someone unknown - correctly in English. Rather, he concocts his own versions of them, puts them into false quotes, and repeatedly lies about the "messages" that he has created. I do not see Pravit ever doing such a heinous thing.

In fact, there is no need for him to do this, and he could just quote them accurately. But he can't help himself. He's a serial fabricator and he does it naturally. He also comes to believe his own lies.

He also tells us he can read the Thai verdict, but he can't cite a single word from them. Pravit can read them, so from my position Pravit is a far superior source of information.

But all this takes TC seriously, which is to give him credit for a quality he lacks. He's a lying propagandist as his every comment proves. Every single one of them includes lies, repeated lies, fabrications and concoctions.

All of this is proven and posted at various threads here, every day.

Reward to anyone accurately

Reward to anyone accurately finding Tony's real identity and contact information. Information is of such value that the reward was recently doubled to 10 Baht, its true value.

Take the letters of the first

Take the letters of the first six words, mix them up, rearrange them - it spells death!

Now you have even stooped to threatening me with death!

Another US funded hypocrite (everything payed for by the US is inherently evil - even my salary)

Just look for the best journalist in Thailand, the one who constantly repeats how much better he is than normal Thai people (because he is far superior to them in every way, he even loves the Monarchy even more than them) and then You'll find me - and I'll be ready and waiting!!

Back to the content of

Back to the content of Pravit's very good article. One of the specific things that the Bangkok Post does is to shut off reader opinion and discussion. For most articles, the Post allows responses by readers. Not for anything to do with LM or, incidentally and oddly, any pronouncement by Gen. Prayuth. They put this statement at the bottom of the article:

"The discussion board on this article has been turned off, because commenting on the above issue may cause legal dispute. More information in our terms of use."

You are a corporate communist

You are a corporate communist fascinate to point out such fact. It must be you you who sent me the daath threat , i'm the worlds best journalist. i'm better than than any thai

I love the ring

I love the ring

No, no, no. You Cretin! I'm

No, no, no. You Cretin! I'm better than all of yous. Asian or not. I'm the best don't you see. I'm Tony.!!! Tony TonY TOnY. I don't care about %hit only my name ringing out. TonY ToNY ToNY. I've got nothing real to say, just, TonY Tony Tony - And it's not even my real name. I luv ring

Did you see the stain on my

Did you see the stain on my pants or did I did I get away with it?

The US version of the ring is

The US version of the ring is much better than the inferior asian Versian, all Asians are inferior to me and my.

ey up Tony! I thought I was

ey up Tony! I thought I was the only embarrassing stain on humanities trousers

Not likely lad. I like to

Not likely lad. I like to leave an embarrassing stain where ever I have the misfortunes to stain. It ain't half embarrassing in hindsight. I can tell ya. I'm a right twonker when I look back at what I did. I'm a right divy.

Can ya forgive me for being a divvy in a foreign country? I hate Thai's, I just better than them that's all.

According to my understanding

According to my understanding of Article 112, #27053 - by Tony, has committed a Les Majeste violation by repeating the content of a prior communication adjudicated to be a LM violation itself.

This now leaves Prachatai vulnerable to the same charge if it does not remove the offending remark.

Tony: are you ready to go to jail for expressing your opinion?

These Thais with western

These Thais with western educations and nearly-perfect English are the biggest hypocrites of all. They live, work, and study in the west, enjoying its freedoms and living standards, free to take part in civil society without fear of the government. But when it comes to their mother country, they support its petty dictatorial government with its repressive policies and practices. They are the biggest hypocrites of all.