Culture and politics forum
Media coverage and propoganda
Two links seen the tweets on TF today... which one do you believe?
#1 Posted: 21/5/2010 - 15:29
Head spinning from all the spin in those two pieces, but in answer to your question neither.
Both choose to be very selective in the points they raise -- the video is especially noteworthy in this regard.
Unfortunately, due to lesse majeste laws in Thailand, the issue that everyone should be writing about and that should be being discussed (not on Travelfish though!) and debated honestly and openly amongst the Thai people is instead being kept in a pressure cooker.
#2 Posted: 21/5/2010 - 19:29
You think that's bad. How about this for spin?
This pro-red website is claiming that these pictures show soldiers taking in reds, blindfolding them and executing them.
The person who took these photos has just posted a tweet saying this:
"The location, a car garage adjacent to "Brown Sugar" restaurant, served to both hold detainees and treat those injured by a grenade blast. No detainees were harmed at this location. I witnessed the blood seen in the image run from a Thai soldier whose arm was shredded by the blast."
#3 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 06:23
What about this news article from the Sidney Morning Herald entitled "Is it OK to shoot foreigners and journalists".
The photojournalist Jack Picone describes being in a Thai army bunker with a sniper and the whole article revolves around a snippet of conversation he says he overheard.
"There is a lull in the fire, and in a twist of reality, one of the soldiers yells across the road to an officer in an adjacent bunker: ''Is it OK to shoot foreigners and journalists?''
I am mortified. There is a pause before the answer is screamed back from the adjacent bunker: ''No''."
Does Jack Picone speak fluent Thai or did the soldiers kindly yell this in English for him???
#4 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 06:47
Actually, he lives in Thailand so he might well speak some Thai, unlike a lot of journalists covering events for foreign media.
"That video" yesterday ... made me wonder if CNN even knows where Thailand is on a map yet they tell the world what's going on there.
#5 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 07:40
bit of background...
few hours before you posted, that photo montage was circulated online. but some who received it recalled seeing the bottom left pic on the photographer's blog earlier on Fri aftn. & they had also seen his tweets before & after he took that particular pic, & tweets & photos by other photojournalists on the scene about the Canadian & 2 soldiers injured by the grenade (http://bit.ly/c4CS5p). some also recognised the watermark (with his blog name) on that pic. the photographer was alerted via twitter & he immed added the clarification to his blog (esp since the original photo was buried deep in his blog photo gallery). those circulating the photo montage & a foreign editor asking about it (presumably interested in using it for an article) were also informed. but it's still being circulated incl on facebook.
there will always be those who see only what they want to see & hear only what they want to hear.
but at same time, hafta bear in mind what it's like living in a place with iron-fisted ruling party control of all media (incl banning of private ownership of satellite dishes). you can grow up without ever knowing that there can be such a thing as an alternative voice. history textbooks only talk about one man. looking at all those foreign photojournalists at the 'frontline' in Bangkok & elsewhere, can't imagine them doing the same in Singapore esp with the new laws passed this year. public gatherings of 5 or more have been illegal even before i was born. now gatherings of less than 5 for 'cause-related events', as well as filming of such illegal acts, & also law enforcement (if it is deemed to 'put officers in danger') are also crimes. if a tree falls in a forest, & no one is around to hear it...no one knows that any tree fell...
on Thai media coverage & propaganda (& censorship):
Thai authorities (regardless of who's in power) do have an established reputation for covering up abuse of detainees & censoring past atrocities from textbooks. not surprising that many are trying to gather any shred of evidence of violence & any possible mistreatment of detainees that they can find, before it gets destroyed/censored. not just reds/pro-reds who are doing this, but neutral ones who realise how ugly history keeps repeating itself when there is no memory of past mistakes (due to censorship). many Thais from my generation (born post-1976) & younger have no clue about 1973 & 1976, or even 1992, Kru Se & Tak Bai. even among those who do, very few have ever heard of 'thang daeng'. dare say that the average Thammasat University student today has no idea about the bunch of sculptures beside the campus gate near Sanam Luang. no wonder so many calls for killing & bloodshed on Thai facebook & twitter feed, calling for soldiers to shoot more people, etc. & you have Thai journalists spreading these links & tweets too.
'that video'...for comic relief: http://www.notthenation.com/pages/news/getnews.php?id=909
#6 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 20:35
to be clear, the 'banning of private ownership of satellite dishes' in #5 refers to Singapore, not Thailand.
#7 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 20:38
for more balanced commentary, i tend to read stuff by Thitinan Pondsudhirak. one of the academics who prefers not get mired in taking sides. here's one example: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/178768/troubling-questions-after-operation-ratchaprasong
a lot of the homemade bombs & Molotovs that CRES is showing as evidence of the redshirt militants' arsenal - look exactly like what the monks & laypeople of Luang Prabang make & decorate their temples & neighbourhoods with every October for Boun Lai Heua Fai (their version of Loy Krathong). esp the M150 energy drink bottles filled with fuel & cotton wicks through the metal caps. if i ever return to Luang Prabang for that festival again i'm not going to see the fireboat decorations the same way again...
#8 Posted: 22/5/2010 - 21:05
That's an interesting little digression! Do they actually ever use the molotov cocktails as "fireworks" during Boun Lai Heua Fai or are they strictly decoration?
This article yesterday raised some very interesting points about how Twitter has been used during the conflict. It was extremely useful at keeping people informed yet at the same time was being used to amplify the hate on both sides.
#9 Posted: 23/5/2010 - 14:49
Twitter...one direct message i won't forget for some time - legalnomads asking 'where is Din Daeng? am near XXX'. kinda amusing/ironic when looking at it in retrospect, but totally freaked me out then (XXX is at the start of Din Daeng Rd, which saw some of the worst action, & her message came in just after the first gunfire was reported there).
amplification of hate - sad seeing how certain Thai journalists/editors themselves passed on 'hate tweet'. the greater the power to influence minds, the greater the responsibility?
there's the famous 'red human shield baby' video & pic that garnered so much criticism...left me wondering why there isn't a similar outcry when many Thai parents put their kids in danger everyday by having them ride pillion on motorbikes sans helmets.
more digression - a cultural aspect of the protests...
from Luang Prabang :
Wat Phonexay M150 arsenal
Wat Mai 'molotovs' on 'fire boat'
Wat Mai 'molotovs' set alight
ordinary protestors threw these place of grenades. they're made for decoration during Ok Phansa (end of rains retreat) & Boun Lai Heua Fai celebrations in Laos & Isaan (esp Nakhon Phanom). 'you have M79, i have M150' became a joke during the protests - a reference to accusations that protestors were armed with M79 grenades. many Lao & Isaan people also use these M150 energy drink bottles to pour water into bowls & onto the ground when they 'gruat nam' (dedicate merit to ancestors & late relatives) at temples, & sometimes when giving alms to monks in the morning.
these are the bang fai rockets that the protestors launched at military helicopters overhead & also at troops. usually fired during Boun Bangfai rainmaking celebrations & funerals in Laos & Isaan (esp Yasothon province), also paraded through Luang Prabang town during Lao New Year.
the protestors (incl monks) also launched khom loy hot air lanterns whenever they spotted military helicopters hovering above. usually used for Yi Peng/Loy Krathong celebrations in north Thailand (esp Chiangmai & Chiangrai).
pretty much stuff that many of the ordinary protestors had been making together with their families every year ever since they were kids. the militant protestors/'men in black' were obviously equipped with far deadlier stuff, a lot of which didn't seem home made to me.
#10 Posted: 23/5/2010 - 23:43
I've seen Lom Koy lanterns before but never as many as in that picture ... what a beautiful sight.
Here are some home-made bang fai rockets that look like they'd work quite well as anti-aircraft missiles too...wouldn't like to get hit by one of those things when they come back down!
#11 Posted: 25/5/2010 - 00:40
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