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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Deconstructing Sopon Onkgara: Blaming the Government For Not Doing the Media's Job

Don't underestimate the people's desire to know

Sopon Onkgara

The Nation


Sopon opines:

Surayud's plea for government officials to maintain neutrality during the election is quite ironic. Isn't it the duty of all officials and the people to prevent bad politicians from entering Government House through tricky means?


Yes, the government, especially a military installed one, should remain neutral in an election.

No, Sopon, unless politicians have been prosecuted and convicted for crimes, it is the media's responsibility to investigate and report the tricky behavior of politicians.

Surayud should define "neutrality" to make sure he understands it correctly. Neutrality does not mean that government officials should ignore the battle between good and bad politicians by doing nothing just to maintain neutral.


Woh, Sopon actually believes that a military installed government should act as philosophers, deciding between who is good and who is evil. No Sopon, the voters decide who is good and who is evil. The government has the duty to enforce the law. That's it.

Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda said time and again that the people should help block evil politicians from gaining power and wreaking havoc on the country by plundering national assets and taxpayer money.


Yes, of course, but it is the media's responsibility to investigate and report the dodgy activities of politicians, so the people make choices one way or the other. Unfortunately, the Thai media refuses to do its duty.


For some people, statements concerning "neutrality" sound holy and righteous indeed. They make one feel good, but without taking a clear stand on a serious issue - and point to someone refusing to take sides, while waiting to join the winner.


Sounds like he is describing the mentality of the editors at The Nation.

In the fight between good and evil politicians, the military, police and civil servants and all Thais must stand on the side of the good, to make sure that our House does not have crooks and thieves seeking opportunities and loopholes to enrich themselves with other people's money.


Does Sopon live on planet earth? What kind of moron believes that the military, the police and bureaucrats are on the side of good? We have a 75 years of Thai history that proves otherwise.

And if Sopon is so worried about this fight of good versus evil, then why doesn't he put a foot down at Nation headquarters and insist that his reporters start investigating all the nefarious activities that are happening right under their noses.

By remaining aloof, as Surayud has been accused of doing, and performing poorly, the entire interim administration is making Thaksin Shinawatra look better. If Thaksin's nominees and cronies return to power, the Surayud Cabinet will be to blame and will have to live with guilty consciences for the rest of their days.


No Sopon, the only people who are to blame are you and your worthless minions at The Nation who have refused to do their duties.

The Council for National Security and other government agencies should be proud if they have any part in preventing bad elements from winning House seats. They have the primary responsibility to maintain national security, and that includes keeping out the bad guys.


This is an extraordinary statement. In any other civilized country in the world, if a major journalist wrote that the military should get involved in politics and urge that it use its police and propaganda powers to prevent democratically elected politicians from taking office, he or she would be denounced and fired. By the way, somebody should give Sopon a lesson in government. The military's national security responsibilities should be limited to protecting the country from foreign enemies. It shouldn't be used to destroy politicians that The Nation hates.


It is no surprise, therefore, to hear some politicians whine and moan that it's difficult to conduct campaigns and make close contact with supporters and voters. Let's just say that the new election rules make it quite difficult for traditional vote-buyers to go about their usual business.


Maybe the EC wouldn't have to issue stringent rules if the Thai media actually had reporters following politicians and canvassers as they bought votes. How many interviews do you think The Nation will do with voters who received bribes from a canvasser acting on behalf of a politician or a party? I think the answer will be zero.


That's why we have heard about new tricks in winning the hearts of voters through various means, such as taking canvassers on foreign tour packages, making payments through ATMs before and after the polls, as well as other clandestine efforts.


Of course, Sopon and his newspaper don't bother to actually report on these activities. For them, it is easier to pontificate rather than investigate.

If we are going to have a clean and fair election, there is still time for the government to rethink its strategy to get voters to understand the stakes and consequences if the crooks manage to muscle their way into power. Judging from the inertia shown by Surayud, there is not much hope that there will be any increased alacrity among the government media apparatus to work hard. The failure from now until December 23 could be calamitous and unforgivable.


No Sopon, it is not Surayud or the government's propaganda machine's responsibility to brainwash people into voting the way you want them to vote.


2 comments:

fall said...

The Council for National Security and other government agencies should be proud if they have any part in preventing bad elements from winning House seats. They have the primary responsibility to maintain national security, and that includes keeping out the bad guys.

This statement also make me gagged. It is an extremist statement definitely worthy of pro-facist propaganda, but not for free press.

If he truly believe this, why the hell are we having election on Dec?

Colonel Jeru said...

Wishful thinking . . Sophon's article that is! Remove all the bad Thai politicians and there will be no one left to run the country. Except bad generals of course and we all know how BAD these generals can administer the country.