Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thailand: Media Scrutinizes Pro-Government Voices, Gives Anti-Gov Agitators Free Pass

July 2, 2017 (ATN) - Thailand's English newspaper, The Nation, recently published an article titled, "‘Explosive’ FB page loyal to govt raises questions," insinuating without evidence that possible government insiders might behind a trending pro-government Facebook page.

While asking such questions is indeed the job of the media, the fact that similar questions are not posed regarding anti-government individuals and fronts smacks of hypocrisy and politically-motivated propaganda. In the absence of balanced scrutiny, The Nation's inquiries further undermine its own credibility.

Furthermore, The Nation never addresses the actual content of the new Facebook page, and instead attempts to sow doubt over it by attacking those allegedly behind it - another feature of propaganda, not legitimate journalism.

Image: The US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds virtually every anti-government group currently operating in Thailand, including "Thai Lawyers for Human Rights" created with the help of the US Embassy the day after the 2014 coup and funded by the US government ever since. The compromised nature of this front has never been questioned by The Nation, despite open evidence being available. 

Conversely, The Nation's frequent coverage of anti-government agitators - agitators who are linked to the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors including the US Embassy and the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) - similar questions are never asked.

Groups like Prachatai, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, and the New Democracy Movement - admittedly and openly funded by the US government and linked directly to Thaksin Shinawatra and his ultra-violent street front, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD or "red shirts") - are repeatedly cited and defended both in articles and op-eds throughout Thailand's media and in particular, The Nation and the Bangkok Post, never revealing any of these groups' funding or political affiliations.

Image: US Embassy staff showing support for Shinawatra's "red shirts." 
Insinuating links and ties regarding pro-government voices without evidence, while ignoring documented and compromising funding and ties among anti-government voices, portraying them as "activists" instead of foreign-funded, politically-motivated agitators, is not "journalism," but intentionally misleading and manipulative propaganda.

In the face of such propaganda, it is no wonder there are alternatives government-backed or not, springing up to balance the equation. It is ironic that alleged "journalists" attempt to cry foul when an actual balance of information is finally available to the public.

Until papers like The Nation or Bangkok Post find the integrity to balance their inquires and evenly report the facts, whomever they favor, public confidence in them as actual sources of news and not propaganda will continue to falter.