At last, some support for media freedom

9 09 2009

At last! The Bangkok Post finally has an editorial that supports media freedom (9 September 2009: “Minister fires before he aims”). This might be its third try on the MCOT-Thaksin interview in the Post’s opinion columns, but this editorialist has seen the threat posed by Democrat Party Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey. Sure, it could have been made broader, noting Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s authoritorian slide, but we need to give kudos when it is due.

Yes, the “government’s response to the rather bland interview with fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra is disappointing.” Yes, Minister Sathit “clearly put pressure on the interviewer who worked with state-run MCOT.” And yes, this “is a terrible example to the country, and yet another poor message to all friends of Thailand overseas.”

More importantly, as PTT has been saying in recent posts, the “minister’s attack on the programme reveals a two-faced policy on freedom of the press by this government, and most previous ones.”

Sathit’s claim that the Thaksin interview endangers peace “does not hold water.” It is true that Sathit is not acting as a minister who should ensure media freedom but as a partisan censor “… and faithful Democrat Party member…”. And, as the Post notes, this is not the first time.

The MCOT is “not an arm of the government propaganda machine. Its TV and radio stations should present news and information based on the interest of the public.”

PPT doesn’t agree with everything in the editorial, but we are pleased that, at last,serious attention is being given to this government’s media manipulation.


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