Media Freedom: ASTV vs PTV

22 02 2007

Recent announcement by Central Committee member of Thai Rak Thai Veera Musikkapong of his team new sattelite television channel called People Television (PTV) which will be aired 24 hours from Singapore to Thailand suggests a new chapter of confrontation between the old power clique and the current government led by Surayud Chulanont supported by National Secuirty Council led by Sondhi Boonyaratkarin.

Since coming to power, Surayud government was claimed to take a complete control of the Thai media. News report take the main responsibility of just reporting of daily event, nothing much and nothing apart from government activities and views. Many programmes have been taken out completely and some were replaced by programmes and presenters who are pro govenrment.

PTV team consists of people who not only have direct link but have prominent position in Thai RaK Thai. They intend to air its first show on 10th March. Building their own studio and invited the two famous speakers Samuk Sonnthoravej and Dusit Siriwan as their presenters. Both are known to be pro Thaksin regime and their programme was taken out after the military coup.

Leaders of PTV claimed it would make strightforward report, not taking side. People should know both sides of story which I agree. But I question their true intention. This is a war game where they use media as a weapon to fight one another. No matter who will win the game, it will be ordinary people who will suffer from worng information consumption. People who confuse will be more confused and the eventual consequence will be the widen gulf of rift between the two social poles – the urban rich or the political elite who are the minoroty of the country against the rural poor.

Should the government prevent the war of words from happening, it must not allow PTV to air its first show. However, in doing so they might have to terminate ASTV programme also otherwise it is not fair for PTV. Both are similar in nature. They are both pay television channel which have their main base outside the country. Whatever the outcome might be, press freedom in Thailand is sadly eroding.



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