Locking the Media: Weekly News Magazines, May, 2017

From Nation Weekend, May 5, 2017
Main cover reads: A judgement

[Refers to the case of elderly mushroom pickers Udom Sirisorn and his wife Daeng. Recently, the Supreme Court reduced their prison sentences from 15 to 5 years for forest encroachment. This case has received attention from the public due to the perception that poor farmers can expect the full weight of the law to fall on them while the rich are unscathed.]

Top right: To step back is offensive. [yellow] ‘Shinawatra’ [white] set the strategy to overtake power.

[Refers to former PM Thaksin Shinawatra who is preparing to once again return to power after the next elections. It is expected that he and his party would win after the next elections since he still controls a broad number of important politicians while parties that oppose him are still weak.]

From Matichon Weekly, May 3-11, 2017
Main cover reads: Ana-‘lock’ the neck of media
On a poster at the right corner: Stop! controlling the media and dominating people

[This plays with word ‘analog’ and its sound of ‘log’ being similar to ‘lock.’ This refers to junta’s motto of making Thailand become “Thailand 4.0”–transforming the country to a value-based economy.
However, the ongoing push to control the media is like the old style of Thai governance–or an ‘analog’ system.]

Top left: After a stage of clarification on the submarine, expecting a new navy chief to show up. Big ‘Luechai’ is in the spotlight.

[Refers to Admiral Luechai Ruddit, a chairman of the navy’s submarine procurement plan who is expected to become the new navy chief.]

From Manager Weekly, May 6-12, 2017
Main cover reads: Pom fish [“Pom” is the nickname of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan; this phrase appears to refer to his involvement in explaining the submarine deal to the public]
On small submarines: Navy chief is gone; Bill on controlling the media; Accuse anti-submarine politicians [this means junta leaders publicly point out politicians who question their submarine purchase and accuse them of being anti-junta]; Misuse of the King’s words [referring to the junta using a famous quote from Rama IX to justify its submarine purchase]; The OAG makes it clean.
Right: Refer Trump calling for a talk on the submarines.

[Refers to the controversial deal on purchasing submarines from China by the navy under the junta. Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan whose nickname is Pom is in charge on this deal used many reasons including both domestic and international situations to show the public on their legitimacy to this deal. This deal also shows the conflict inside the navy.]

Top: “Woodyworld’ is disbanded. “Woody” left “Som” at the middle of the road

[Refers to Woody Milintachinda who left the company ‘Woodyworld’ co-founded with his friend Natthaporn ‘Som’ Saibua. Recently, this company was restructured due to financial problems.]

Bottom left: New political equation. Poop mixes with rice model. Desolate Thailand.
Photos top left to right: Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, People’s Democratic Reform Foundation Suthep Thaugsuban
Bottom left to right: Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Chanrnvirakul, Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva

[This refers to the reputations of politicians and the military. Despite the criticism the junta has received, the military has successfully fostered the notion that politicians are corrupt and greedy while the military is the only force that is able to enforce laws and cleanup the mess created by politics.
The military constantly stokes this idea through its prompt demotion and transfer of suspect officials and its law and order raids, the context of which is almost never reported in the English-language press.
For instance, raids of casinos or attacks on long-simmering provincial scandals (like the child sex ring in Mae Hong Song) could never happen in Thailand during times when a true political party in power. This is because provincial governors and the police are part of the political system and are vested interests that political parties rely on for their support and to get things done. Courts have practically no influence in rural areas. (It is easy to see how under these conditions Thais view extra-judicial murder as a common sense solution to many problems.)
When the English-language press simply notes a “joint police-military” raid they never explain the context that is instantly understood (and often discussed at length) in the Thai-language press. This context is that the police would never conduct these raids, as they receive bribes or are even conducting the illegal businesses themselves with protection from political figures.
It is only the surprise appearance of the military at a police station, blocking phone calls and jamming radio communications in the area so the police cannot tip off their criminal partners, that signals to the police that a raid will be undertaken.
This is just one example of the larger message that society is receiving now. It feeds into traditional Thai skepticism about politicians and elections.
The article title uses white rice to indicate the good and pure–meaning the military actions for law and order. “Poop” or “shit” is used to symbolize the much of politics and politicians.
The headline means that the good will be mixed with the bad after the next elections as deals have to be made for the military to retain power thus necessitating alliances with dirty politicians.
This leads to the realization of “desolate Thailand” where real reform can never last.]

Bottom-right: End of “BB-CU Football Club” The death point of maladjustment.
[Refers to the BB-CU Football Club announcing to the end of the team from the Thai football league.]

From Lokwannee, May 12-18, 2017
Main cover reads: Kindness of pink brotherhood (Chula has freedom everywhere)

[Refers to student political activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal elected president of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Council. As a reform-minded iconoclast who wishes to end prostration for students before the Chula statue, his surprise election at the very conservative university is surprising. PM Prayuth specifically denounced him.
The cover shows him as a mischievous kid flying a kite and annoying the adults. The kite refers to Chulalongkorn as its name is “Chula kit” and pink is the university’s color. “Kindness of pink brotherhood” is a part of the Maha Chulalongkorn song by composed by King Rama IX.]

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