Bangkok Post editor removed after refusing to tone down junta criticisms

The Bangkok Post confirmed on Monday that it had removed its news editor Umesh Pandey after he refused to alter his critical coverage of the military government, given that the newspaper plans to invite the junta head to join its birthday party, said an executive.
On 14 May 2018, Umesh Pandey, editor of the Bangkok Post, confirmed on Facebook that the newspaper had dismissed him for his recent criticisms of the military government.
“The hard-hitting news that we have produced in the 22 months of my leadership is a testament to what we as a team that is down by nearly 60 people have managed to achieve,” read Pandey’s Facebook post. “But when asked to ‘tone down’ I did not budge.”
Pandey said he was “blunt” in telling newspaper leadership that he would rather “lose [his] position” than “bow [his] head.”
“The axe finally came down on me just 60 days before my 2-year contract ended,” he added in the post.
Umesh Pandey (Photo from his Facebook)
The deputy chief operating officer of the Post Group, Na Karn Laohawilai, said that newspaper did not fire Pandey, but merely transferred him to another section. Na Karn said that the ‘transfer’ was not due to his criticisms of the military government, but rather his improper managing skills.
The Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Post Group, Nha-Kran Loahavilai, said that newspaper did not fire Pandey, but merely transferred him to another section. Nha-Kran said that the ‘transfer’ was not due to his criticisms of the military government, but rather his improper management skills.
But the Post Deputy Chief appeared to contradict himself when he said the final straw was when a member of Pandey’s team wrote on 11 May that the Thai junta should take a lesson from the Malaysian election results. Nha-Kran said that the report was unfair to the Thai government, and inappropriate given that the newspaper is inviting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to its 72nd birthday ceremony.
When the Executive Board informed Pandey, the editor reacted aggressively, so the Board decided to transfer him, Nha-Kran added.
“So it’s not about the military interfering or getting him to stop attacking the military. I have many witnesses on this issue. Actually, we don’t want to talk about it but since he talked first, we have to come out and talk too,” Nha-Kran told the media.
Apart from Nha-kan, various former and current journalists at the Bangkok Post also confirmed his Umesh’s misbehaviour and mismanagement, saying that nearly 50 staff left the newspaper as they dislike the editor.
“There are few people in the office who like him,” one source, a staff writer who worked under Umesh, told Khaosod English. “When many people quit, one reason was that they didn’t like him. He changed many company procedures.”
Umesh said in response that there is no proof of his mismanagement, and the executive is just trying to slander him.
Pandey is the second editor this year allegedly removed for criticising the junta. In late March, PPTV news director Vanchai Tantivitayapitak was also forced to resign after the military government pressured the station.
The report on Malaysian Elections which leads to Pandey’s removal