Thaksin admires the Chinese press

The real harm to country's image - Bangkok Post, November 1, 2005
[This is the kind of tough editorial that used to only be in The Nation.]
...Proof of that, if any were needed, was supplied by the minister himself in a report by the government's official mouthpiece, Radio Thailand. Mr Suranand, just back from a trip to China, told the radio service he praised the Chinese system of media control extensively, and apparently had not a word to say about the official protection of press freedom in Thailand. Mr Suranand said he was strongly impressed with China's "state-of-art technology system" which is used to monitor citizens, control the media and block access to thousands of internet websites which the Chinese find inconveniently democratic, including several in Thailand.
According to Mr Suranand, some media "make problems for society" and he signed an agreement with China to cooperate on this issue. Mr Suranand made no attempt to defend his country's democratic system and constitutional protection of free speech and press. Instead, he publicly agreed with the statements of his hosts, who represent a dictatorship with no pretense of press freedom. He agreed with the Chinese that the government should "play a more important role in examining the members of the press who trigger problems to the society". That seems a good reason to downgrade Thailand's press freedom and harm Thailand's image yet again.
The climate of harassment is well known. Last year, police in the South invited reporters to a news conference on the Tak Bai homicides, then locked them in the room and demanded notes, photos and video footage. Mr Thaksin has claimed several times that the press is hurting the image of the country by certain news coverage or commentary. On the contrary, it is clear the government is harming the country's image abroad by creating an environment of badgering that has caused a huge loss of respect for Thai media independence. And it is using state agencies, including security forces, to help...
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