The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s military junta is “[c]oncerned over its international image…”.
We find this curious. Either the junta is so lacking in international perspective and knowledge that it fails to understand that the media and its interests or it misunderstands its own profile and performance. It may well be both of these.
Clearly, if the junta thinks that “tighten[ing] its rules on foreign media working in Thailand, prompting the denial of work permits for some foreign journalists” is going to produce a better image among those journalists and the international media, then it has lost its collective marbles.
The report cites Jonathan Head, president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) and BBC correspondent. He says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes the interview it conducts with those seeking a press card more difficult than it has been in the past. The report states that “many journalists who underwent an interview to obtain their work permit for the first time have described the process as often ‘unpleasant’ and ‘hostile’.”
The officials make it clear they want compliance, “asking the applicants for their opinions on the junta and the monarchy…”.
Media activist Subhatra Bhumiprabhas is also quoted, and compares “Thailand’s current press freedom situation to Myanmar’s at the height of its dictatorship.”
As we have said several times previously, Thailand is run by a bunch of knuckle draggers who have heads firmly lodged in a past era and are incapable of understanding the modern world. Their limited understanding of Thailand is shaped by their experience as loyalist slitherers who have spent more time on their bellies before bosses than developing knowledge and capacities that would allow them to run a modern country.
When they don’t get “loyalty” from Thais or foreigners, they become confused and disoriented. Their reaction is thus to repress or extinguish this “threat.” The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, displays this trait in all his dealings with the media.