Thaksin surprises reporters with X sign

"Reporters dismayed by PM's X-rating toy"

August 25, 2005 - Here is an amusing tidbit from the Thaksin era from Chronicle of Thailand.

(Source: Chronicle of Thailand)
Thaksin surprises reporters with X sign - The Nation, August 25, 2005
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today (Thursday) surprised reporters by raising a sign to show that a question asked by one of them was "unconstructive"...
A reporter asked Thaksin whether there were foreign terrorists taking part in the terror campaigns in the deep South.
Thaksin pressed the buzzer and raised the X mark sign and said the question was unconstructive and refused to answer...


[2015 note: Like many Thai newspaper articles from the early days of the Thai internet, this article is no longer online. Below is the complete text of the original article.]

Thaksin surprises reporters with X sign

Published on Aug 25, 2005

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today (Thursday) surprised reporters by raising a sign to show that a question asked by one of them was "unconstructive".

The prime minister was taking a stand to answer reporters' questions during his first "Meet the Press" session at Government held by the new government spokesman, Surapong Suebwonglee.

A reporter asked Thaksin whether there were foreign terrorists taking part in the terror campaigns in the deep South.

Thaksin pressed the buzzer and raised the X mark sign and said the question was unconstructive and refused to answer.

Several reporters laughed but the reporter, who asked the question, gave Thaksin an applause.

At one moment, Thaksin also pressed the buzzer and raised an O sign when a reporter asked about short-term measures for dealing with rising oil prices.

"It's constructive question," the prime minister said.

After the press session, Thaksin told reporters that his son, Panthongtae Shinawatra, bought the signs and buzzer from Japan so he borrowed the equipment "to play with media so that they would not be too serious".

"I don't want reporters to be too serious," Thaksin said.

About 100 reporters from various agencies, including senior journalists and some editors, showed up for the session.

Thaksin opened the session by saying he would meet the media once a week on Thursdays.

He said that from now on he would refrain from making comment on other days so that reporters would have questions to ask him on Thursdays.

"For non-urgent issues, please ask ministers in charge so that I could speak only once a week," Thaksin said.

PM sets off weekly meet with press - TNA, August 25, 2005
Even TNA cannot avoid mentioning the PM's press conference stunt that has been widely derided in the press.
...During his 45-minute press conference--broadcast live by TV Channel 11 of the Public Relations Department--the prime minister raised signals to react to reporters' questions.
A circle was raised if the question was considered constructive and a cross was shown if the question was viewed as non-constructive...

[Full text.] PM sets off weekly meet with press

BANGKOK, Aug 25 (TNA) - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today kicked off a weekly 'Meet the Press' attended by almost 100 members of the media, domestic and foreign.

Most questions touched on southern border region problems and the emergency decree designed to solve them.

During his 45-minute press conference--broadcast live by TV Channel 11 of the Public Relations Department--the prime minister raised signals to react to reporters' questions.

A circle was raised if the question was considered constructive and a cross was shown if the question was viewed as non-constructive.

Mr. Thaksin said his 'Meet the Press' would be held every Thursday, and that there would be no more daily conferences, except to make statements on urgent issues.

He suggested that reporters turn to deputy prime ministers or other members of his cabinet for answers to their questions.

Touching on the southern provinces and the emergency decree, the prime minister said that the media should study the contents of the decree in a more scrupulous fashion and advised that they, themselves, spend a night in the troubled region to see how the authorities are performing under the controversial decree.

Mr. Thaksin reconfirmed that the outcome of the emergency rule would be evaluated at three-month intervals, and suggested those who may have been mistreated by the authorities file lawsuits for damage compensation with the Civil Court, though they are not legally allowed to do so with the Administrative Court. (TNA)-E008

And AP has a negative take on the PM's buzzer stunt:
Thai PM gives tough questions the buzzer - AP, August 26, 2005
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has long complained of press criticism. But he sought to turn the tables Thursday with a new tactic - sounding a buzzer every time reporters ask questions he deems "not constructive."
To the surprise of journalists and colleagues alike, Thaksin raised a handheld buzzer - which displayed an "X" sign - from behind the podium to indicate his disapproval of some questions asked at the first in a new series of weekly news conferences.
The button-pushing Thaksin sounded the alarm when a Thai newspaperman asked why the government had failed to seek parliamentary consent before introducing an emergency decree in the volatile southern provinces, where a Muslim insurgency has taken hold. "Not constructive!" he exclaimed, referring to the reporter's question and a related one about whether foreign terrorists might be linked to the rebellion.


More: Thai-language media reacts to Thaksin's "X"
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