Finger pointing

27 03 2010

A couple of observations from the past couple of days regarding allegations made and reported. The first relates to Thaksin, the second to Bangkok “community organizations” and the third to calculation of the economic costs caused by the red shirt rally.

In the first case, the pro-government Thai-ASEAN News Network (25 March 2010) reports on the “hunt” for Thaksin. It reports that “Montenegro has declined repatriation of Thaksin Shinawatra, claiming the fugitive ousted premier is a Montenegrin citizen there is no request from the Interpol.”

The article concludes some remarkable claims about the country, its prime minister and international crimes. PPT doesn’t have the knowledge to comment, but this claim: “Montenegro is ranked among the most corrupt countries in Europe…” can be easily checked. Essentially the claim is accurate. Most of these indices rank perceptions, and the Transparency International ranking for 2009 has Montenegro at 69th. The problem with this kind of finger-pointing accusation is that Thailand itself is ranked at 84th. Pots, kettles, glass houses….

In the second case, the television news and the media was swamped with the story of a “network of about 1,800 Bangkok community groups is calling for a swift end to the red shirt demonstrations, claiming they violate their members’ rights.”  The Bangkok Post story is here. The number of news commentaries and reports that harp on traffic problems and so on is astounding today, suggesting something of a campaign. Prachatai has helpfully pointed out the spokesman for the community groups is a member of the People’s Alliance for Democracy.

The campaign continued with a report in the Post referring to a “Businessmen for Democracy Club” attacking the red shirts. About 30  of them “rallied.” The Post says nothing about who the “club” is or who its members are. We know they have been around for some time, maybe since before 1997 and that they had links to PAD. Maybe readers can fill us in?

The third bit of finger-pointing is also widely reported. These red shirts are killing the economic recovery it seems. Well, that’s what the reports claim. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce is reported to have claimed that the cost might be up to 100 billion baht. Admittedly, this is said to be a worst case scenario. But if such a claim really has any credibility, exactly how much did the record setting 190+ day PAD rally really cost Thailand’s economy? And how much of the claimed 100 billion baht can be put down to the government’s scare and fear campaign associated with its attempts to discredit the red shirts?

With all the claims being made against the red shirts, watching and reading the mainstream media feels a little like being in the front row at one of those PAD rallies in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.



One response

18 04 2010
Tourism and the economy « Political Prisoners in Thailand

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