Monarchy fallout

16 04 2010

The Australian documentary on the monarchy that PPT previously posted about here and here, has predictably caused a stir in Thailand. AFP (16 April 2010, with a very similar story in the Bangkok Post) writes that “Thailand has protested to the Australian government over the airing of a documentary critical of the Thai royal family and warned that the broadcast could affect ties between the nations.” Nothing more could be expected.

A senior Thai embassy officials met with  Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs “to express his concern at the programme aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Thsi official said: “We consider this an issue matter of national security… because the royal family, the monarchy, in our constitution is above politics.”

Another official has “written to ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about the programme which could breach Thailand’s lese-majeste laws which prohibit criticism of the royals.” He said: “I regret that an organisation of the ABC’s stature has lowered its own standard by airing the said documentary which is presented in a manner no different from tabloid journalism…”. And added: “I strongly express both resentment and disappointment with the poor decision you have made.” The official – the ambassador designate – said the monarch was “the soul” of the nation.

The Bangkok Post story dutifully adds that “Thailand’s diplomatic missions in Australia say they have received complaints about the programme on the monarchy — which Kittichaisaree said was “the soul” of the nation and cherished by Thais from all walks of life. Actually this is about all the story adds to the AFP report which is not attributed.

PPT is pleased that at least one more media organization has decided to tilt at this issue in a more sober manner than has been the case for decades. Well done ABC!



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