What the mainstream media won’t report III

1 01 2011

PPT posted on the Bangkok Post’s selection of 5 under-reported stories in the mainstream media. We then listed 4 different but under-reported stories, and now list another 4 stories the mainstream media shied away from, deliberately downplayed or neglected for political reasons:

Lese majeste – we know that the law on lese majeste is so draconian, its implementation somewhat fickle, and its repressive weight overpowering, making reporting lese majeste stories difficult for all media. However, one of the ways that the mainstream media deals with lese majeste is to essentially ignore cases where people are charged and again when they are sentenced. Lese majeste stories tend to be brief and “neutral,” reporting very little about controversy or anything about the legal proceedings. When the reports are not bland, they can essentially amount to attacks on the accused. Readers can look through our lists of the accused and the convicted and will find that it has really only been Prachatai taking an consistent interest in lese majeste stories and issues.

Huge support to the red shirts in Bangkok – for PPT, this was one of the really big stories that was deliberately downplayed by the mainstream media. PPT was made most aware of this when the massive red shirt caravan circumnavigated Bangkok. The day after that caravan back in March, PPT stated: “Given the huge government effort to discredit the red shirt caravan of 20 March 2010, it is difficult to know where to begin…. PPT must express incredulity regarding the mainstream media. To watch news readers saying again and again that 25,000 people participated is like watching Alice in Wonderland and 1984 in 3-D at the same time.” In another post, we said: “The most noticeable thing … was the exuberant solidarity. All … were in a festive mood, with emotions running high, not in any negative way, but in a joyous way. This was … an opportunity to be heard … following the rejection of their votes….  PPT has never seen anything like this event anywhere. It was huge.” And, we added: “Those who hate and fear the red shirts will not agree…. Where there was joy and exuberance, they’ll see the hand of Thaksin. Already they are claiming that these people were paid. As PPT has been saying…, this now makes for dangerous times.” In hindsight, PPT thinks that this huge demonstration of Bangkok-based support for the red shirts probably determined that the establishment had to crush them. Such shows of solidarity could not be allowed.

Military and government corruption – PPT has posted numerous times on corruption in the military and in the government. Yes, the mainstream media harps on corruption, but tends to blame politicians. And, yes, politicians are involved. But where are the investigative reports of absolutely obvious corruption in, say, the military? Our posts have had a fondness for the army’s non-flying, probably totally useless zeppelin. Why is that these things get reported but there is no follow-up on the broader issues of corruption? This is yet another example of avoiding any attack on the institutions that run the country.

Forced repatriation – the under-reporting of the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s repeated forcible repatriation of border crossers is scandalous. This under-reporting is related to the fact that the military is always involved, and as noted above, criticism of it has to be muted because of its power and centrality. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of Rohinga, Hmong and Burmese have all been thrown out, forcibly in recent years, and inhumanely. Where’s the outrage in the mainstream media?

That will do us. If readers have things they want us to add, email us with the details: thaipoliticalprisoners@gmail.com

Best wishes to our readers for the New Year.


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9 01 2011