Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vested Interests or Bad Journalism?

Its not exactly news that the press in Thailand has troubles.

Not only is the press severely curtailed by government manipulation and censorship but, a common complaint, is the obvious political bias.

The Thai press might see their role as a watch dog of public interest but the obvious question is; who owns the watch dog?

A logical answer to that question was proposed by academic Duncan McCargo who, in his book Politics and the Press in Thailand, wrote "...the Thai media is frequently the captive of various interests. Its trickiness derives not from its lack of loyalties, but from its multiple loyalties, the plurality of its obligations and the diversity of its stakeholders."

In addition, a lack of professionalism is also common in the press and, in particular, the English language press.

In what might be a combination of vested interests and sloppy work, The Nation offers its readers these contradictory side-by-side reports:

Apparently the Olympic torch relay was both 'trouble-free' as well as 'greeted with protest'.

Now, the question might be, is this simply a lack of professionalism or an attempt to placate diverse interests such as the paper's western readers and the Chinese business community?