Special Report: Thai Media Analysis Part 2

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The first part of this special report already discussed the movement of the press, especially government intervention and political news contents during the past six years. It is now time to finish the analysis on the media analysis by the Media Monitor Scheme. 

The press in 2005 and 2006 gave importance to political demonstrations. Political news reports were given the highest priority. All television stations deemed political rallies a major political phenomenon and reported in detail movements of protest groups and atmosphere of rally sites. News reports were concentrated on verbal counters between political rivals. Some media institutes during this period showed prejudice and bias by calling protest groups in inappropriate terms. Most importantly, television stations gave the sense of urgency in their news reports by presenting political news with speed and situation atmosphere.

As for printed media during the same period, dramatic wordings were used in political news reports. Political analyses in newspaper articles expressed strong political preferences while those with reconciliation point of view were very rare. In the beginning of 2008, news coverage was mostly on policies of political parties, but later on presented news on the general elections as if reporters were reporting a horserace. At that time they acted as if they were government manager predicting the formation of a new government. They failed to address or analyse policies of then government seriously.

News reports during 2008 could be compared to a television soap opera since they were full of verbal counters made by politicians, exposed scandals without concrete investigation while elections were meddled in with black magic and superstitions. In general, news reports were shallow with no analysis on policies of political parties and failed to educate the public on political knowledge. Qualifications of politicians and ministers were not examined as the press was busy reporting links between politicians and influential groups instead.

In conclusion, news reports in the past six years had been in the loop as news agencies reported political disputes without giving historical backgrounds and causes of incidents; therefore, news quality was low and incomplete. What the Media Monitor tries to convey is that failure to report news completely in all aspects can lead to further division in the society because political violence has other factors unseen in news reports.