Army manipulation of the media

12 03 2010

As 50,000 security forces pour into the streets of Bangkok and surrounding areas, allegedly to maintain ‘order’ (which is often the code for violence which does not resemble ‘order’ in any form), the Army has attempted to manipulate the press as well.  Prachatai reports that a letter has circulated on Facebook from the Army’s Directorate of Civil Affairs.  The letter indicates that the Directorate  asked the primary television stations in Thailand to put four messages along the bottom of the television screen, beginning on 4 March:

“Message 1: Deputy Prime Minister Suthep believes that all Thais in the whole country do not want chaos in the country; most want to see the country peaceful.

Message 2: Kongkrit Hirankij, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand, is confident that Thai tourism has bright prospects if there is no political turmoil, and could grow 12-15%.

Message 3: Sukij Udomsirikul, Asst Managing Director of Nakhon Luang Thai Research Institute, says it is necessary to keep watch over the current political situation, because political problems are a risk factor in the Thai stock market.  If politics turns violent, the GDP growth would be less than 2%.

Message 4: The Security Situation Monitoring Committee has continued to set up checkpoints in critical areas.  We apologize for inconvenience on certain traffic routes.  If suspicious individuals or objects are spotted, please call 191 or 1555.”

The letter is a masterful combination of ideology, fear-mongering, and lies.  PPT has come to expect nothing less from the Thai state security forces.

Read the entire article, and see a scan of the Thai-language letter, here: Prachatai, 11 March 2010, “Army’s media efforts to cope with red shirt rally”