A tale of two newspapers: Thaksin’s speech

While the Post mentions in passing that Thaksin was criticized for "for thinking and acting unilaterally," The Nation gives almost equal space to past criticisms of Thaksin. The Nation and Post each portray quotations from the speech differently.

For example, the Post mentions Thaksin's pledge to start a center to track missing people while The Nation adds this center will search for 'people who went missing during the government’s war on drugs.' The Nation also adds a criticism of the upcoming, but as yet unknown, cabinet.


PM vows to change his tune - Will listen to critics, respect human rights - Bangkok Post, March 10, 2005

Thaksin Shinawatra promises to keep an open mind, listen to dissent, make up with the press, respect human rights, support non-governmental organisations and return power to people by promoting participatory democracy in his second term...
His pledges were uncharacteristic, considering Mr Thaksin was criticised during his first term in office for thinking and acting unilaterally.
Mr Thaksin said he would exercise his absolute House majority wisely, and not abuse his power. "I will not use that political security in a wrong way but will maximise it for the love and unity of Thais, to make them become one and to solve problems and eliminate obstacles,'' he said...
Mr Thaksin said democracy would be developed further, and that could come in the form of strengthening grassroots-administration bodies, ensuring independent organisations could be truly independent and supporting NGOs which make "constructive'' contributions.
"I will respect NGOs that have no hidden agendas," he said.
Mr Thaksin pledged to increase people's power, partly by returning power taken from them by various laws. He would also give people a chance to exercise their power by visiting them and giving them a say, calling public hearings or even holding a referendum on important matters...
Mr Thaksin promised to promote human rights. He would discuss with human rights groups ways to lift Thailand's standard of rights protection, open a centre to track down missing people and identify unknown bodies.
He also promised to develop his relations with media outlets that treasured Thailand's dignity and wanted only good things for the country. "I will try to understand the media which is still trying to keep pace with development,'' he said.
The government would stamp out family problems, drugs, drinking and smoking, and poverty.
"I will help our people live a better life in a better society that enjoys better education and a better economy,'' he said...
THAKSIN ASSUMES POWER : ‘I shall uphold human rights’ - The Nation, March 10, 2005

Assuming the mantle of prime minister for the second time, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday suggested he would take a softer approach to a number of issues that routinely embroiled him in controversy during his first term...
The Thaksin administration was the target of persistent criticism from international rights groups, in particular for its heavy-handed suppression of the Tak Bai protest and the killing of dozens of militants at the Krue Se Mosque. Thaksin said he welcomed constructive criticism by human-rights groups and was willing to hold one-on-one discussions with them.
Thaksin has also been faulted in the past for showing little interest in cases of people who went missing during the government’s war on drugs. Yesterday, Thaksin said the government would set up a centre to search for such missing people.
The unsolved case of missing Muslim-lawyer Somchai Neelapaichit, believed to have been killed by police, rates high among the controversial issues that have hurt the government’s image.
Thaksin also made conciliatory remarks towards the press, with which he has had a stormy relationship. He said he was willing to make amends. Yet he insisted that he would do so only on condition the press did not harbour hidden agendas. “I will try my best to understand the press,” he added.
Countering popular fears that he might want to exploit the overwhelming majority of Thai Rak Thai in the House, Thaksin insisted the party’s dominance was, in fact, in the national interest. “I will use this stability granted to the government towards the building of national unity,” he said...
His new administration, he pledged, would also provide substantive support to local administrative bodies, independent agencies, and “good” NGOs...
Thaksin has been under pressure to appoint a qualified and trustworthy Cabinet, following his landslide election mandate. But critics say what has been leaked to the press so far is anything but impressive...
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