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Thai Senator Stunned By 'new Media'

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Thai senator stunned by 'new media'


Senator Rosana Tositakul. She's worried

the Thai government can't "control"

new media. Photo from 'The Nation'.

PHUKET: -- Thai people have little "need" for multiple media outlets such as cable TV and websites since most spread misinformation, Bangkok Senator Rosana Tositakul opined yesterday.

"Do we really need so many media channels? And how could we "control" a large number of media channels, anyway?" Rosana asked at a seminar entitled "How to Reform the New Media", held by Thammasat University's Faculty of Journalism and Communications.

Rosana said media reports spreading misinformation incited hatred, so the media should report with more conscience.

"Misinformation is like toxic food that causes damage to the viewer's brain," Rosana said.

Adisak Limparungpattanakit, who heads the Satellite Television Association of Thailand, said it was impossible to control media content or to prevent the existence of new media.

"The lawmakers always want to control the media. However, they can never catch up with the new technology," he said.

Unlike the senator, he saw some opportunity in that. He said the government should not only ease off on trying to control the media, but should actively help people across the country get access to it. It should also encourage outlets to produce more good content and forget about blocking "bad" content.

New media, broadly defined as comprising blogs, web boards, and cable and Internet radio and TV, have been enthusiastically received by the masses in most of the developed world. But they remain a source of ongoing consternation in Thailand where an onslaught of 'toxic', or 'viral', opinions, often presented as fact, are seen by successive governments as exacerbating the country's social and cultural divisions.

New media appearing here in Phuket over the past two to three years include the local cable and Internet presentations of daily news from PGTV, the television arm of the Phuket Gazette, as well as the Gazette-sponsored Phuket Forum on ThaiVisa.Com, Thailands largest and most active English-language forum.

In the blogosphere, there have been four new Phuket-based entries: thephuketinsider.com, phuketobserver.com, phuketwan.com and andamantimes.com


-- The Nation and Phuket Gazette 2009-05-22

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The thread title doesn't match.

Stunned means there is an element of surprised, Rosana apparently knows what she is talking about, no surprise there.

Role of the media came under big scrutiny here lately.

I know the typical line - give people access to information, they can decide for themselves, you should read many sources and compare different versions. It looks fine, but there's a limit.

What if we have a hundred different channels telling us completly different versions of the same story? Hundred different versions of five daily stories? Seven days a week?

It's physically impossible to process so much information. Most people get their news from one source only, it's a fact of life. Then they go and bash either red or yellow heads in, depending on where they get their fix, so it has become a problem.

The media need to rethink their role - should they be a medium and report the reality as they see it, or should they be just transparent channels of communication between those who want to say something and the public?

Perfect example - general public is in no position to decide whether Abhisit was in a car or not, they weren't there. Now there are two opposite versions, one is a lie. Should the media spread this lie for the sake of "balanced reporting"?

Isn't it a media duty to separate lies from fiction and present the truth?

That last line was an interesting slip of tongue, I let it stand.

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"Do we really need so many media channels? And how could we "control" a large number of media channels, anyway?"

What makes her think that media should be controlled anyway? Regulated perhaps, but controlled no way.

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This senator started her political career as an anti-corruption crusading heroine.

Unfortunately it appears she has exactly the same mindset of all the Chinese Bangkok-centric privileged elite in that poor (ethnic Thai) people cannot be allowed to think for themselves as they are unable to make 'correct' judgements so rigid control of their lives including the media is the logical conclusion.

Treating 80-90% of the population like little children who cannot be trusted and cannot think for themselves is at the root of many of Thailand's failings.

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