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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Samak's Words Will Always Hurt the Thai Media's Feelings

PM Samak's conduct with media faulted


Bangkok Post

Report examines his behaviour in interviews


By Post reporters


Press freedom advocates slammed Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for resorting to unpleasant language and a brusque manner to intimidate the media.

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Uajit Virojtrairat, a media reform activist and member of the research team, told the forum that Mr Samak's hostile discourse ran counter to democratic development.


She said his rejection of criticisms reflected his indifference to the press' dignity and his ''authoritative'' attitudes hampered participatory democracy and human rights.


Mr Samak used several tactics to avoid answering reporters' questions and their scrutiny. His tactics included beating around the bush, and giving information which was irrelevant. He could also be satirical, or attack reporters outright, using crude language.


She said his non-verbal communications such as gesture and tone of voice were also distinctive and reflected his aggressiveness. He even frowned or pointed his finger at reporters when he was displeased.


Political scientist Somjai Phagaphasvivat said Mr Samak's tendency to give irrelevant answers was probably due to lack of information, as he did not have full control of his administration.


He also voiced concern about Mr Samak's tendency to avoid answering reporters' questions, saying this kind of behaviour would compromise transparency and accountability.


Panpimol Lortrakul, a psychiatrist, said that Mr Samak's abrasive manner could be viewed as an attempt to control the media.


Wah, Samak is mean to us. Wah, Samak doesn't treat us with respect. Wah, Samak's contempt for us means he is a dictator. Wah, Samak doesn't use polite language.

I can't think of a group of narcissistic phonies in Thai society who are more hysterical and sanctimonious than the Thai media.

I think every Thai PM going back decades has had an adversarial relationship with the Thai media.

Who can blame them? The media has no professional integrity and their journalistic standards for the most part are abominable.

I sincerely believe that the Thai media tackles issues like this and right-wing nationalistic issues like the flag at the Man City game is because they are intellectually incapable of tackling real issues like the economy, the environment, corruption, etc.


Bangkok Pundit recently blogged about the Manager and what it considers serious political analysis.

The Thai media really gets away with murder, then they wonder why they are being sued all the time for libelous and slanderous statements.

When I say Thai media, I mean the major players, some of the alternative papers and magazines are OK. In other words, I don't want to offend fellow Bangkok Bugle, who does try to make a difference at his magazine.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Thanks for the mention, and for an acknowledgment of what I am trying to do.
I don't think anyone would describe Samak as being media-savvy but this does seem to me like a collective moan by the Thai media pack who aren't getting answers to their sometimes pointless questions. I think if you ask sensible, fully researched questions you will always get decent answers from Government officials.
Just my experiences ...