Thai State TV employee: Yeah, we are just a government pawn
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Thai State TV employee: Yeah, we are just a government pawn

Towards the end of the article in the Bangkok Post, there is the below excerpt:

Priya Nawamala, a public relations officer at the state-run TV channel 11, said his agency was partly to the blame for the loss of Thai people.

“The government was using the NBT to portray the protesting side as unpatriotic and anti-monarchic. They should have been offering some more neutral voices, instead of igniting  hatred against one another,” said Mr Priya.

BP: That state-run TV channels often act as mere government pawns is not surprising. This is not something new. Thaksin and PMs before him have also used the state media. While the Democrats started their administration with talk that the state media needed to be professional, the PM’s Office Minister who oversees the state media also stated that the government will use the state media to counter the red shirts.

Of the TV channels, NBT is the worst of the lot and is simply a government mouthpiece. As Media Monitor noted in March 2010 (as blogged about here) that all governments use it as a mouthpiece and the evening shows on NBT were just attacking the red shirts and selecting tweets from the same people attacking the reds – also see criticism from them earlier in March on similar grounds against NBT (also see criticism against the Samak government by Media Monitor on similar pro-government bias).

One new thing is that a representative of the channel openly admits that they were just pushing government propaganda. Matichon has a longer excerpt:

[“รัฐบาลพยายามใช้องค์กรของผม ถ้าสังเกตจากตัววิ่งที่ขึ้นหน้าจอ จะเห็นว่ามีข้อความด่าคนไทยอีกกลุ่มหนึ่ง ที่คิดไม่เหมือนกับรัฐบาล ในรายการสนทนาทางผู้จัดทำรายการที่จะเชิญวิทยากรมาพูดถึงความรุนแรงในช่วง นั้น ไม่สามารถที่จะเชิญนักวิชาการที่มีความเป็นกลางหรือความคิดเห็นทางฝ่ายเสื้อ แดงได้ คือ พูดง่ายๆ ระบุมาแล้วว่า จะต้องเอาคนที่คิดเหมือนรัฐบาลเท่านั้น เพื่อมาแสดงความคิดเห็นโจมตีกลุ่มผู้ชุมนุมกลุ่มประชาชนที่เห็นแตกต่างจาก รัฐบาล ตรงนั้นเป็นส่วนที่เหมือนกับการราดน้ำมันลงไปในกองไฟ รัฐบาลเองก็ไม่ได้ใช้สมอง ในการเลือกหนทางที่จะแก้ปัญหาให้ถูกต้อง” นายปริย กล่าว

“The government attempted to use my organization. If you noticed from the scrolling words on the screen, you will see that there are messages insulting another group of Thais who did not think the same as the government. For conversation programs [ie programs with guests], the program organizer when inviting guests to speak about violence at that time was not able to invite guests who were neutral or thought the same as the red shirts. To put it bluntly, it was specified that it must only be people who held the same views as the government so they express views attacking the red shirt protesters who view things different from the government. That is like throwing oil on a fire. The government did not use its brain in choosing the path to solve the problem correctly” said Priya

BP: Matichon has video of what he said which can be viewed here. One wonders whether this was done out of fear/knowing what the government wanted or whether Satit had a word or two with senior NBT management….

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