Thai Media Associations issue anti-government statement

Numnaul  Yapparat

Sutep Tueksuban is calling a new round of big demonstrations against Yingluck’s caretaker government on 22nd December 2013, which is causing growing concern about increased tensions. The Thai Print Journalists Association, The Thai Broadcasting Journalists Association and The News Broadcasting Council of Thailand issued a statement expressing their concern about the current crisis. They demanded that the caretaker government enforce the laws without showing double standards or the use of force against the protesters. They urged both sides to be patient and urged the protester to strictly follow a non-violent path.

The media organisations claim to support elections as a basic principle in the democratic system. However, they are afraid that the new round of elections on 2nd February would not end the crisis; the elections are being held in such unusual circumstances where there are deep divisions among people.  Such an environment would distort the judgment of many voters, they claim. Therefore, the election rules should be based on negotiations and consensus, according to these media associations.

This statement is hypocritical and dishonest and it insults the intelligence of the electorate. It is hypocritical because it is Sutep and his mob who have used violence while the Government has shown great restraint. The Government’s actions are totally different from those of the previous Democrat Party government, of which Sutep was a senior cabinet member. Sutep’s government shot down 90 un-armed pro-democracy demonstrators in cold blood.

The media associations claim to support the democratic system, yet they want the democratically elected government to compromise and reach a consensus with those who wish to see a dictatorship.

Finally, the insulting idea that the majority of the electorate will somehow be “confused” by the crisis and will not use considered judgement when voting, is merely another version of the Yellow Shirts’ claim that the majority of Thais are too ignorant to deserve the right to vote.

Most of the Thai broadcasting media is controlled, either by the military or by anti-government forces. The English language print media has always supported the Yellow Shirts and the military, while about half the Thai language print media is on the side of the elected government.