Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Nation Editorial: Our Hypocrisy is Endless When It Comes to iTV


The Nation

Rehabilitation of iTV starts now

The decision to revoke the station's concession is the first step in restoring the independence it lost under Thaksin

The decision by the Prime Minister's Office to terminate the concession of iTV Plc, operator of the country's sole "independent" television network, received the blessing of the military-backed interim government. iTV has been taken off the air pending Council of State rulings on a plethora of complicated legal issues on the transfer of assets from iTV, the concession holder, to the PM's Office, the granter of the concession, before the government's Public Relations Department (PRD) is asked to take over management of the broadcasting frequency previously used by iTV.

Some iTV journalists - who were once freedom loving but who later allowed themselves to be used by Thaksin and his henchmen for propaganda - are now demanding "fairness" from the Surayud government and the Thai public. The future operator of iTV should not be forced to hire those journalists who betrayed the public's trust and failed to observe professional ethics.

After all, the worst enemy of broadcast media freedom is broadcast journalists who sell themselves cheap while at the same time pretend to advocate media freedom. The termination of iTV's concession and the temporary suspension of its broadcasts had nothing to do whatsoever with the suppression of media freedoms by the former government.

No one can prevent cynics from interpreting the government's move on iTV as another example of the Surayud government and the military junta seeking vengeance against former prime minister Thaksin, who they toppled in a coup. But it cannot be denied that the iTV saga was the outcome of despicable collaboration between the anti-democratic Thaksin regime and unethical journalists, which is just now being undone.

What the Surayud government is doing should be seen as part of a clean-up operation to rid Thai society of the culture of deceit and corruption.

Thai society must learn from this costly mistake. And all freedom-loving people in this country must bring pressure to bear on the government to do the right thing so that the new iTV, which will eventually rise from the ashes of its former incarnation, will serve the people the way it should.

The Nation really is the laughingstock of the country. Everything that it accuses iTV of, it has done and worse.

What kind of news organization acts like a party mouthpiece for a military dictatorship? The Nation. Notice how Thepchai and Suthichai have become ubiquitous on TV ever since the coup and the demise of the Thaksin. They have goose stepped behind the junta every step of the way.

But The Nation has left General Sonthi off the hook for installing military vice-governors in all the provinces.

Do you think The Nation will go after General Saprang's corruption or his lack of action at Suvarnapumi?

Further, The Nation has not proved on charge against Thaksin with any of its reporting. There is nothing more undemocratic in this world than accusing a person of heinous crimes without any evidence, which is what The Nation has done.

The Nation is shameless. Its staff doesn't believe in freedom or democracy. They, like the staff at iTV, believe in their own personal selfish interests.

The question should be : When will the rehabilitation of The Nation begin?

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