Friday, May 4, 2007

Deconstructing Kavi: Hopelessly Naive about Thai Journalism

Regaining Thailand's press freedom

Kavi Chongkittavorn

The Nation

To describe the present Thai press situation, one needs to borrow a popular adage that goes: "Anything that can go wrong, will - at the worst possible moment."

That is exactly what has happened. Since 2001, press liberty has gone downhill, despite the military-installed government's commitment to broaden the freedom of the press. It is like waiting for Godot.

Unfortunately, right after the coup of September last year, numerous news reports and commentaries - both textual and visual - attracted the worst possible reaction from the authorities, who have no appreciation of this country's long-standing tradition of press freedom.

Personally, I like Kavi. He is my favorite columnist at The Nation. The rest are idiots. But he is either deluding himself or he is not being honest with his audience. He is a smart guy. He has been around. He has traveled abroad to many countries. He knows a lot about politics, especially in Asia. But he must know that the Thai media sucks and that he works for a horrible newspaper. If he doesn't know this, he really is in denial.

Kavi knows that the Thai press doesn't have a tradition of press freedom. There has always been an element of self-censorship. He knows the quality of reporting in Thailand has never been as good as in the West, at least at the respectable newspapers. He knows that the Thai press will never hunt down and try to investigate the real criminals in our society: the military, the police, the bureaucrats, and the politicians.

Even if Thailand had the highest press ranking in the world, the editors and publishers responsible for producing high quality journalism will never produce it, because they are incompetent, unprofessional, unethical and lacking in real courage to face down the country's enemies.

In a couple weeks, there will be a symposium in London that Kavi will be attending, with other Thai big shots.

From New Mandala

SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) Thai society in conjunction with the Royal Thai embassy are hosting a talk about Thailand after the coup. A number of important Thai dignitaries are visiting the UK and will be coming to SOAS at 6PM Wednesday 23rd May in room V111 at SOAS’s vernon square campus

While Kavi is in London, why not have a long sit down with Thaksin and pull off a big scoop for Thai journalism?

That is what a real journalist would do instead of sitting at table of traitors who have allegedly taken money from the junta's not so secret propaganda slush fund.

As Bangkok Pundit pointed out in the thread, I hope somebody has the courage to ask those big shots who is paying for their tabs.

And if Kavi is untainted with junta money, maybe it is he who should ask the question first.


Anonymous said...

Kavi actually talked about "military-installed government's commitment to broaden the freedom of the press"?! The guy is either blind and dumb, or he should make it more clear that he's writing sarcasm...

The first thing the junta did after the coup was shut down community radio, surround TV stations with tanks, and go on a censoring spree. Kavi might not be a Thaksin fan, but even the most fanatic Thaksin-hater would have to admit that the junta has been more repressive than Thaksin.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Kavi is more balanced or has more sense than other columnists at the Nation, probably because his beat is Asean rather than domestic politics. But he's not deluding himself or being intellectually dishonest. Being considered the best in their field locally, and with no one to tell them otherwise, these columnists probably do honestly think they are the best. I find their columns biased and boring and hardly ever read them, until I started reading your deconstructions which have actually made them rather fun. I especially enjoy the way you wade into Suthichai. But do they read your blog? I doubt it. I only stumbled here my chance. Still working out what jump the shark means! So why not give them a chance to learn from criticism? Here's a suggestion: create a blog on the Nation blog, just repeating what you say here, bearding the lion in its own den!

Anonymous said...

Oops! Sorry, I ended on a cliche.

Unknown said...

Trirat, see wikipedia about jumping the shark

Anonymous said...

"Being considered the best in their field locally, and with no one to tell them otherwise, these columnists probably do honestly think they are the best. I find their columns biased and boring and hardly ever read them, until I started reading your deconstructions which have actually made them rather fun."

This says it all. They dont know they are rubbish, they atually believe they are the best. The Magic Kingdom.


Unknown said...

Sycophants like the Yoons and the Yongs, the Thanongs and the Sophons grovel and brown-nose at the altar of the powerfuls unashamedly and unapologetically but that's what make Kavi the worst of the lot. He is less servile on the surface but as the first anonymous comment demonstrates, Kavi is more dishonest.

Go back and read his previous column pieces, and you will discover passages that sing of more freedom of the press under the military junta and the tired and failed arguments for the putsch. Has anyone read a contrarion view of the putsch from Kavi?

Why bemoan the state of press freedom now when a few columns back, Kavi wrote that there is more freedom under the junta's rule than Thaksin's? What a hypocrite.

Kavi's "expertise" is a mile-wide and an inch deep when it comes to understanding regional politics and regional organizations. His fondness for the concept of "community" belie his ignorance of East and Southeast Asian history and global power alignment and he has never come across a press release or briefing from the ASEAN secretariat that he doesn't like or fail to regurgitate into another column article. Everytime I read his pieces on
ASEAN-as-community-and-catalyst-for-peace-unity-prosperity-for-Asia-and-a-bridge-to-the-world, I wonder why someone would embarrass himself so publicly.

And when he does not embarrass himself with regional topics, he makes stupid regurgitations like this in his blog. Speculating on who might become C-in-C of the Army, Kavi said Saprang will be appointed. The very next sentence: but someone else could be chosen. And he gets paid for that!

All the columns of The Nation should begin with a warning: Consuming the below rubbish could be hazardous to your intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Agree with most and perhaps I should add that 'Chang Noi' is as good as the Nation can be. When it gets to a discussion of monarchy, Chang Noi is a class above the rest. His self-censorship style..ouups..mean his cultural sensitivity is deeply deeply appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all the democratic inputs in which Chang Noi has attributed to the cultivating minds of members of the intelligentsia (what the f-ck! despite being hidden under a pseudonym and championed by a mediocre class of loyal readers, Chang Noi still has no guts to discuss monarchy openly).

Nation is a scum of the earth. period.