“Integrity” and “”transparency”

2 08 2022

There are times when one reads newspapers and wonder if the journalists involved have recently suffered as severe head knock or if they are lazy or perhaps think that the starkness of a report damns those involved.

Take, as an example, The Nation’s report on Nok Air’s skid off a landing strip at a provincial airport. Of course, not all accidents require an emergency evacuation, but the “explanation” from Nok Air was a doozy: “Nok Air said it decided against evacuating passengers via slides immediately because the ground had many puddles due to heavy rain. Also, it said, it was worried about their safety as it was dark outside and there may be dangerous animals lurking in the area.” Do we take it that snakes, tigers, and bears are loose inside the provincial airport? Surely a truthful statement that the pilot did not consider emergency evacuation necessary might have been a competent statement?

Truth is always fraught among the elite in Thailand.

Then there’s the report, also at The Nation, that announces the results of the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s integrity and transparency assessment that “the Royal Thai Air Force, the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy and the Supreme Command passed the criteria of 85 ITA points.” In addition, “the three main courts – the Central Administrative Court, the Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court – passed the assessment with an average score of 90.06 per cent,” while the “agencies of Parliament – the King Prajadhipok’s Institute, the Senate Secretariat and the House Secretariat – also passed the assessment with an average score of 95.55 per cent.”

No doubt many choked on their coffee or rice soup when reading this. What about secret trials, corrupt commission payments, torture, buying parties and parliamentarians, convicted drug dealers in parliament, illegal military coups, the Constitutional Court’s partisanship, and so on and so on?

As it turns out, the NACC’s ITA is largely a box-ticking effort at managerialism in administration. And, as the Bangkok Post points out, even this bureaucratic transparency washing exercise failed to meet the NACC’s own targets.

So, no, the world has not been turned upside down, except for some box-tickers. These agencies are as corrupt as they have ever been and having a military-backed regime in place just makes it all less transparent.


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