Friday, April 20, 2007

Junta Allededly Using State Money to Hire Cronies to Produce Anti-Thaksin Propaganda

Thaksin supporters targeting CNS again

Bangkok Post

Say vested interests at work in TV campaign


Supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have renewed their attacks on the Council for National Security (CNS), accusing it of having vested interests in the budget allocated for a new public relations campaign. The anti-coup website yesterday published an article attacking the CNS for hiring a firm to produce a documentary highlighting the reasons for staging the Sept 19 coup that ousted the Thaksin government.

The writer of the article, using the pen name ''Pradab'', produced copies of a four-page official memo by the CNS' public relations office seeking 2.25 million baht to create the documentary to be aired on a television programme, ''Tomorrow Must Be Better''.

Assistant army chief and key CNS member Gen Anupong Paochinda approved the memo, submitted on Jan 31 this year, according to the writer.

According to the memo, the documentary would contain 75 segments, each two minutes long. Each segment would cost 30,000 baht to produce.

The author queried the hiring of a private firm to make the programme, saying it was unnecessary for the army to outsource as it had Channel 5 to do the job.

The CNS was only trying to find an excuse to hire a certain private firm with close ties to it, the author said.

The article said airtime fees were not explained in the memo, indicating a possible attempt to cover up the real cost of production.

The writer said it was a waste of state money to run such a television programme, and suspected that the job of producing the documentary might be given to Chianchuang Kalayanamitr, a younger brother of assistant army chief Gen Saprang, who is deputy secretary-general of the CNS.

The CNS was earlier taken to task over the 12 million baht PR contract it granted to a team led by Mr Chianchuang.

The CNS denied any hidden agenda and maintained that it was possible to produce the documentary at a very cheap price, including the airtime fee.

Assistant army-chief-of-staff Jariya Thongthap, head of the CNS' public relations centre, said the Chianchuang team had nothing to do with running the programme.

''We have hired a small public relations team which is professional to handle the programme. We have to accept that we, soldiers, have no ability to do it,'' he said. Lt-Gen Jariya refused to identify the team.

He believed the person who handed the official memo to CNS opponents was the same person who earlier leaked the Chianchuang contract to the public.

The junta has control over all state media. It has the newspapers and Thai academics in its pocket. The Nation pumps the airwaves with its anti-Thaksin propaganda everyday. TiTV is now a mouthpiece for the junta. So why does it keep going to independent producers to produce anti-Thaksin propaganda?


Anonymous said...

And before the election Thaksin was using the media for pro-Thaksin propaganda.

The more things change...


Anonymous said...

The military junta is slowly painting itself into the corner and will hang itself or stage another coup.

Next month is May and we will mark the overthrow of non-elected PM Suchinda during the Bloody May Incident. I am sure Sonthi and Saprang are getting nervous with the approcahing anniversary.

anon said...

Well, at least they didn't title it "Junta Chief Sonthi Speaks to the People"....

hobby said...

It should be clear to everyone that the junta does NOT have control of the media.

anon said...

Yes, despite nationalizing the only non-government owned television station, garrisoning soldiers inside television control rooms, flooding the airwaves with junta propaganda, censoring local and foreign television, and shutting down hundreds of radio stations, the junta does NOT have control of the media.