Updated: Managing news?

18 08 2011

PPT admits to being confused about this report in the Bangkok Post, reproduced in part below:

Ruling party bribes’ email was ‘real’

Published: 18/08/2011 at 12:00 AM

The National Press Council of Thailand has concluded that an email message sent from a Pheu Thai Party spokesman that indicated the media was being managed by a political party was real.

However, it says it does not have the authority to seek further evidence to prove that any graft occurred.

A council subcommittee looking into the controversy released its findings yesterday, saying the message was probably sent from an email account belonging to Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Wim Roongwattanajinda.

Led by Dr Wichai Chokwiwat and Somkiat Tangkitvanich, the panel said it was convinced Mr Wim had written the email about money and benefits having been offered to seven journalists. They did not say how the panel had arrived at its conclusion.

We don’t have evidence that the journalists took bribes,” Dr Wichai said . “We don’t have clear evidence because we don’t have the legal power to investigate.”

Mr Wim did not appear before the panel.

The report said Pheu Thai probably had “managed” the media systematically, including running advertisements in certain newspapers, setting news agendas for those newspapers, and sending in party photos for publication….

Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham

At least the Post manages to have “real” in inverted commas in its account of the “outcome” of the “investigation”…. (see below) ….

For an account of the establishment of the “investigation,” see here. Note that Wichai is a former Chairman of the Rural Doctors Foundation, which has been actively associated with anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movements and Somkiat is vice-president of TDRI, a royalist bastion.

PPT can well imagine that certain parties did try to influence the media. After all, during the election campaign, the coverage of the Democrat Party by the Bangkok Post was largely uncritical and highly supportive. At the same time, this report appears to amount to little more than the long anti-Thaksin  National Press Council admitting that it has no evidence for the allegations made and which it decides to support despite that missing evidence. This report will soon shoot around the blogs (see here) as factual and will become part of the lore of the campaign to bring down the Puea Thai government.

PPT already sees a pattern emerging in the actions of the combined anti-Thaksin media, yellow-shirted political activists and, of course, the defeated and (we would have thought) humiliated Democrat Party. That pattern is very 2005-6 in its conception. We’ll have more on this in later posts.

Update: While considering political parties influencing the media, it is interesting to see how much the Bangkok Post has been reporting Abhisit Vejjajiva. Look at the quite silly article “explaining” how only Abhisit can save the Democrat Party a few days ago as just one example. Further, the Post has reactivated Korn Chatikavanij’s regular column. In this instance who’s influencing who?



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