Friday, September 22, 2006

Newpaper Censorship

It's always great to hear what my readers are thinking. A Thai reader in the US writes:
I was reading things about Thailand on your website and would like to comment. I just listened to Thai TV online and found that the quote from The NY Times was not correct. The Administrative Reform Council does not prohibit any political gathering at all. It was just a rumor.... Well, you'd better change it. A lot of us here (Thai people) in the US found that NY Times did not have correct information. Yesterday what the NYT was saying about the king was also not quite correct. Please maybe check Thai-post or the Nation (newspapers) before posting on the website, will you?
I'm sorry to have to break it to this reader, but press freedom in Thailand is a thing of the past. And by saying this, I certainly mean to include English-language papers like The Bangkok Post and The Nation. Although in pre-coup days, former prime minister Thaksin's media conglomerate controled many of Thailands television and radio stations, Thai newspapers enjoyed autonomy from the authorities. They could report what they wanted. This is no longer the case. Today all Thai media -- television, radio, newspapers, and magazines -- are subject to censorship. The Internet -- including blogs -- now provides the one remaining link to open society.

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