Double standards “journalism”

7 04 2015

On the few occasions when we comment on the scribblings of Bangkok Post anti-democrat propagandist Veera Prateepchaikul, we struggle with the word “journalism” when we describe his noxious musings.

So it was that we were taken aback when this military loving anti-democrat made some critical comments about the introduction of Article 44. Veera complained to The Dictator that the introduction of this draconian excuse for further repression by the military dictatorship was targeting the media, and whined that “the media is not the enemy [of the junta], why treat them so?”

Veera explained that, without providing any detail, “Deputy Prime Minister Visanu Kruea-ngarm insisted Section 44 is needed because there is not just one, but five groups of ill-intentioned people waiting in the shadows for the right time to spring into action and stir up trouble. One of the five groups comprises politicians who have lost power,” meaning the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra political alliance. Veera observes that the “media as a whole is not among the five evil elements identified by military intelligence,” yet is being treated like an enemy.

What really had Veera ticked off was the fact that junior officers would be able to censor him. In the past, he observed, very senior officials took this role. It seemed that Veera was rather more concerned about status than repression. And, he was right that most of the mainstream media is not the enemy of the military dictatorship. Our guess is that most media tycoons and senior editors and journalists rather like the coup and its outcomes.

Just a few days later, in a new Post column, he shows his true standards, which are double standards.

After gently berating the military junta for being nasty to the media, Veera cheers the “seven-day blackout of Peace TV and TV24 (formerly Asia Update) ordered by the broadcasting board of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.’ He seems to agree with the military’s board that “some programmes was provocative and incited public dissent.” It seems that treating Veera’s enemy as the dictatorship’s enemy and banning them is fine and dandy. Veera only opposes censorship when he thinks it might impact his own allies.

In this set of double standards, Veera appears to rejoice in the “government’s decision to enforce Section 44 of the interim charter, replacing martial law.” He cheers Visanu in this column, apparently agreeing now that the “invocation of its sweeping powers … is to counter elements of ill-intent, among them politicians who have lost their power and who are trying to undermine the government and destabilise the country.” He seems to like the idea that “the government [he means the military dictatorship] is ready to use a big stick in the form of Section 44 against these elements if they refuse to readjust their attitudes and toe the government line,” and seems to cheer that the dictatorship cracking down on his political opposites.

We understand that Veera can hold double standards like so many others in the elite. Displaying them with so little shame or self reflection is amazing, even in the junta’s Thailand.


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