Media Situation in November 2009
By Media Threat Alert Center, Thai Journalists Association
Thaksin’s 100 satellite-transmitted TV channels launched
On 1 Novembe, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s 100 satellite-transmitted television channels were launched as part of his publicity drive to fight his way back to Thailand amid a growing limit imposed by Thai government on his access to mainstream media. Thaksin’s legal advisor Noppadol Pattama said the satellite television was one of the six channels of communication with Thaksin also include Thaskinlive.com, Thaksinlive.com/radio, Twitter (thaksnlives for general information and thaksinbiz for business who want to ask questions or seek his recommendation), Facebook and SMS .
Three Thai Media Crews Briefly Detained in Cambodia
On 13 November, three media crews from the Nation media group covering former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra’s visit to Cambodia were briefly detained by officers at the Presor Prison in Phnom Penh while entering the prison’s compound to visit a Thai engineer who was detained there on charge of stealing Cambodia’s flights information of Thaksin.
Supalak Ganjanagundee, senior reporter of The Nation newspaper and Napajak Attanont, reporter and Kobpak Promraykha, cameraman from the Nation TV were arrested as they were negotiating with the prison’s officers to visit Siwarak Chotipong. Their video camera was confiscated and checked whether it had any recording of the premise. They were released after one- hour interrogation.
A recent poll conducted by TDRI suggested people weary of political partisan media
On 26 November, Research Director of Thailand’s Development Research Institute (TDRI) Somchai Jitsuchon revealed at TDRI’s annual academic seminar that Thai people felt the partisan media should revisit its role in current political conflicts.
A result of TDRI opinion survey of 4,077 respondents across the country on public attitude towards politics and social welfare for social justice showed that 46 Per Cent of the respondents believed that media proxies of on-going political rivalries (Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts) should reduce their role in current political conflicts, while 16 Per Cent wanted them to adjust their roles.
Besides, 47 Per Center viewed that ordinary people should have their role increased in politics, which according to Somchai, could possibly led to a situation where partisan media becomes less important while “silent voice” which represents the majority of the people is given more recognition.
Court Sentences Six Protestors for Seizing the Nation Building
On 30 November, Criminal Court sentenced six leaders of Caravan of the Poor to three-year unsuspended imprisonment and ordered a fine of 189 baht each for conspiring up of at least five people to cause people to feel threatened to their lives, to detain and obstruct freedom of people, and to breach the Advertisement via Amplifier Control Act of 1950. The convicted led a crowd to surround the office building of Nation Group on 30 March 2006. Due to their good cooperation during the investigation, the court reduced the prison terms for each to two-year unsuspended imprisonment and a fine amount to 180 baht for Defendant 1,3,4 and 6, and 120 baht for Defendant 2 and 5.