Sunday, October 1, 2017

US-Funded Prachatai Uses Bigotry,Stereotypes to Attack Thailand

October 1, 2017 (ATN) - US State Department-funded propaganda front "Prachatai" based in Bangkok's Huay Kwang district, Thailand, recently published an op-ed by long-time contributor Harrison George.

Titled, "The terrors of tourism," the piece is Prachatai's entry into a concerted effort by Western special interests to smear and undermine Thailand's expanding tourist industry.

Just like other Western attempts to scare off tourists, Prachatai's piece is a spattering of generalizations, grotesque and offensive stereotypes, and outright lies. What's even more concerning regarding the piece which was published by a supposed "nongovernmental organization" specializing in "human rights," is the bigotry and stereotypes found throughout it.

The piece claims - in an effort to undermine the Thai government's recent optimism regarding the nation's tourist industry - that:
Good news for the ladyboys farther along Sukhumwit who pounce in pairs on late night tourist solo strollers. If you jam your hands into your pockets to save your money, they’ll rip the gold chain off your neck. Try to protect your gold chain and they’ll plunder your pockets. And if you try to fight back against the odds, you quickly discover that in terms of fisticuffs, the operative bit is ‘boys’ rather than ‘lady’.

George intentionally uses the term "ladyboys" derogatorily in reference to members of Thailand's transgender community and attempts to generalize Sukhumvit's transgender community as violent and thieving. Bigotry like this - should anyone actually believe Prachatai's propaganda - could create abuse and discrimination against members of the transgender community, convinced by Prachatai's bigotry that they will be surely attacked, robbed, and assaulted. 

George also indulges in various other generalizations and smears against entire segments of Thailand's population, including taxi drivers, hotel staff, and just the Thai population in general - portraying the entire nation as exploitative criminals seeking to strip unsuspecting tourists of every item or unit of currency they own.

And while all racial, ethnic, and bigoted slurs are based on individual incidents that may or may not have at one point taken place, the reason why such slurs are rejected by civilized society is because honest people understand that a small percentage of bad individuals do not represent the majority of any group - they do not represent the transgender community along Sukhumvit, or the majority of taxi drivers in Bangkok who do their job honestly to make a living, or hotel staff or tour guides who provide a memorable experience for foreign visitors.

The Facts Speak for Themselves 
Despite Prachatai's attempt to smear Thailand's tourist industry, more tourists than ever are flooding into the nation - clearly unmoved by dishonest attempts by Western media and US-funded fronts like Prachatai to stir up ill-will toward Thailand.

And while Prachatai and bigoted liars like Harrison George attempt to prey on the fears of mostly Western tourists, Thailand's tourist industry in fact consists of mostly Asian visitors.

According to, most of Thailand's tourists originated from Asia - particularly China. Tourists from China (at nearly 9 million) alone outnumbered the largest number of Western tourists (1 million from Russia). Malaysia comes in second at 3.5 million, while South Korea, Japan, and Laos were tied at around 1.4 million each. 

From the US - whose government fully funds Prachatai's activities - during the same period only about 975,000 tourists visited.

The millions who come to Thailand are apparently not experiencing the same "Thailand" Harrison George in the pages of Prachatai depicted, and that is because Harrison George and Prachatai are engaged in crass, unimaginative propaganda aimed at an audience they apparently believe is both ignorant and gullible.

In Prachatai's bid to undermine the very nation it allegedly claims to represent the people of, including millions of Thais engaged in the tourist industry, Prachatai was willing to employ deception, bigotry, and stereotypes.

Prachatai is Funded by and Serves US Interests, not Thais 

On Prachatai's own "About Us" page, it claims:
Prachatai ( or is an independent, non-profit, daily web newspaper established in June 2004 to provide reliable and relevant news and information to the Thai public during an era of serious curbs on the freedom and independence of Thai news media.
However, despite claiming to be "independent," it also lists further down the page who funds its activities, including the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), convicted financial criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation, and USAID. Individual donations in 2011 - not all of which can be assumed to have been donated by actual Thai citizens - was dwarfed 100-1 by foreign government funding.

Prachatai's "executive director," Chiranuch "Jiew" Premchaiporn is not only a recipient of US NED money, she is also counted as an NED Fellow.  Chiranuch Premchaiporn @Jiew not only allowed Harrison George's article to be published on her Prachatai platform, she retweeted it from her personal Twitter account as well. 

And while Prachatai claims to provide "reliable and relevant news and information" it appears what is "reliable and relevant" is determined by Prachatai's foreign sponsors, not its staff, and not Thai readers.

That a foreign-funded organization serves the interests that keep it in business should be of no surprise. This is precisely why legitimate nongovernmental organizations seek to avoid such obvious and compromising conflicts of interests. That Prachatai will use dangerous and damaging bigotry and stereotypes to undermine Thailand's own economic prosperity and its perception upon the world stage in concert with Western media outlets should also be no surprise.

It must be be remembered then, that organizations like Prachatai only claim to represent freedom of expression and human rights advocacy as a means of concealing their true agenda and the special interests they actually represent and serve. Those that hide behind genuine causes like free speech, transparency, honest and open media, and human rights do as much to undermine and threaten it as actual abusers. And since Prachatai decided to employ bigotry and stereotypes in its bid to attack Thailand, it is also an actual abuser of such rights as well.