In an earlier post, PPT reported on the Bangkok Post’s selection of 5 under-reported stories in the mainstream media. Now what about the stories that really haven’t been reported by the mainstream media. Here’s our list, in no particular order, of stories the mainstream media shied away from, deliberately downplayed or neglected for political reasons:
Wikileaks ignored – PPT already posted on this, noting comments that Thailand has become a “secretive authoritarian society where censorship is the norm, where people are too afraid to speak publicly about certain issues and where paranoia about the state listening in is widespread, ” and adding that Wikileaks news only got out “beyond the realm of the mainstream media, Thai Red News, a red-shirt mobile-phone SMS service” and so on, and they too were being careful to avoid the repression of the ever-threatening and draconian lese majeste laws. PPT has posted all of the Wikileaks cables about Thailand.
King’s health and succession – a couple of days ago the Bangkok Post reported that when asked, 78.37% of “people agreed they were made most happy by the King’s recovery…”. One wonders what else they could have said when specifically asked to agree with a statement that refers to the king’s health when people have been hounded and threatened with prosecution for even daring to mention his illness. Of course, the unspoken element in this is the fear that if the succession doesn’t get bent out of shape then the next king might be difficult. Aside from that really big story, nothing at all has been said about why the king has such an inordinately long period in hospital. It’s over 15 months now and there has to be something newsworthy in that. See our post here. But every editor shakes in his or her boots under the threat that is lese majeste.
DSI leaks – okay, we admit that this has been reported, but what kind of reporting has it been?! Apart from posts like this one, there has been precious little critical reporting of the leaks that began with a Reuters report. PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and DSI responded to the Reuters reports apparently admitting the leaks were “part of a report” (see two articles at MCOT News, here and here), and Abhisit quickly raised the possibility that security forces not being charged and the DSI claimed that the details of investigations will never be made available in full. Then the DSI chief Tharit Pengdit began denying the leaked reports were the same as DSI reports. Japanese Embassy said the reports it received from red shirts appeared genuine. Next the military appeared to deny any killing and the regime got back on script denying everything. Finally, the regime sought to silence critics of DSI and those leaking its reports. Now you’d think that someone could make a story out of this series of events.
Constitutional Court crimes/Democrat Party decisions – again, like the DSI leaks, these stories were reported, but with little attempt to analyze what was going on. The mainstream media was apparently reluctant to criticize the courts as they are an essential element of the regime. Indeed, the media seemed to largely go along with the government account. PPT doesn’t need to spell out all the details, but following the leaked videos, where has been the attempt to investigate corruption in the courts? PPT covered the way that the regime came together to support its elite buddies in the court, blocked access to the leaked videos and attacked those leaking the videos, then got off two cases of its own on technicalities, while burying the corruption in the Constitutional Court. Surely a “watchdog” media would examine these issues in some detail. It seems there is a lapdog media.
Part III will follow with a listing of 4 more stories that were bent, under-reported or neglected in 2010.