With an increasingly inter-connected and free flow of information, globalized world, for journalist, many who see their role as a protector of humanity, the sky-rocketing global risk is a challenge.
Thailand, for example, from a confusion with “Taiwan” globally, has sky-rocketed into the globe’s 17th largest manufacturer, fraught and buffeted with all sort of extremely and complicated, political and economics situation that is getting harder and harder to understand and let alone producing a good straight report, to help humanity by assign proper risk, is a hell of a job.
Are foreign journalist in Thailand ready to do the job?
There had been some re-shuffle of the head of the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), where the old guard, mostly, have long developed long relationship with the Bangkok establishment over the years, were replaced with some new people. The BBC journalist in Bangkok, Jonathan, took over as the club head.
While Jonathan was criticized for expressing closeness to protesters, in the Fascist Suthep’s movement, like openly “Hugging and Playing Around” with the protesters, those who defended Jonathan, said Jonathan has a friendly character that is open to all. Jonathan however, reportedly took an aggressive position with one of his critic, and according to testimony, the BBC to which Jonathan works for, had to apologize for Jonathan’s aggression.
The changing, to Jonathan, expected to change little at the club, where even Time Magazine, former journalist in Thailand, was close to the Democrat Party, enough to the extent of running hotel review for those in the party at Time Magazine, a great many old guard are still in place at the FCCT, many of them from Thai media, locked-in deep with the Bangkok establishment for decades.
Nevertheless, the changing came as Thailand is currently in the midst of a crisis.
Apart from a few foreign journalist in Thailand, with depth of understanding and courage to report what is going on, most, such as Jonathan, believe this crisis in Thailand is mainly about the elite, being Shinawatra’s new money and the traditional conservative’s old money, battling it out to control Thailand. The general consensus, at the FCCT, is that this crisis, has little to do with democracy or dictatorship.
In fact, few foreign journalist in Thailand, believes/accept that the Red Shirts movement, has anything to do with democracy, and generally sees the Red Shirts, only as movement that supports the Shinawatra Family. The view, is similar to the Bangkok establishment. And for Suthep, with so many iconic people pointing out that his movement is about Fascism, few foreign journalist in Thailand, acknowledges that Suthep is a Fascist. The mainstream narrative, again, by foreign journalist in Thailand, is as many foreign journalist say, quote: “Everything about Thailand is in the gray area and difficult to understand.”
The club’s relations to the various side in the Thai conflict is a complex one and is getting dangerous, with some foreign journalist being selected out for attack, particularly by the Fascist Suthep movement. How foreign journalist reacted to the situation can give some interesting insight.
As the job of reporting news had been getting dangerous in Thailand and in response, the Thai journalist association issued a distinct “Light Green” color arm band, printed with the journalism association name, to identify and separate out to all, who are the journalist in this Thai crisis. However, Fascist Suthep’s guards, had been spotted wearing the same “Light green” arm band with the journalist association name, on several occasions. All Thai journalist associations, have for decades, been infiltrated for control by the Thai elite establishment, but in this case, Fascist Suthep went too far. The association made a statement, criticizing Fascist Suthep’s movement for using the journalist insignia on their guards.
Days later, the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT) issue a statement, saying they oppose “All Sides” using journalism insignia to identify their non-journalist people. The FCCT, did not mentioned that the only side doing that, is fascist Suthep.
The FCCT had come under intense pressure from Fascist Suthep, often attacking foreign journalist violently and often verbally on stage. perhaps the FCCT fear if it udentified Fascist Suthep for criticism on using journalist insignia, it would draw anger from fascist Suthep. However, when it comes to safety of journalist, there should be no compromise. The fact is, for fascist Suthep guard, often armed and dangerous, to move around wearing journalist insignia, puts journalist lives in danger. Perhaps, the simple truth of the FCCT failure in this case, is just that the FCCT is filled with cowards as leaders.
While the FCCT shy away from Fascist Suthep, on journalist safety issue, it took a highly aggressive stance on the Yingluck government. Again, as the FCCT shy away from confronting Fascist Suthep, the FCCT criticized the Yingluck government, of a long established regulation in Thailand, that prevents the sales of bullets protecting safety vest, to the public, where the FCCT says, the regulations endangered journalist lives.