Friday, January 13, 2006

Thailand: Return of People Power Through e-Democracy





It seems a very long time since we last saw the gathering of 100,000 people in Bangkok exercising their democratic rights of freedom of expression. The "Black May" of 1992, when the middle class led people's power against the return of military regime and resulted to full democracy in Thailand might be the last one. The incident is also recognized as "hand phone democracy".

The phenomenon of democracy through technology in Thailand has been repeated once again since "Thailand Weekly" ( Muang Thai Raay Saab Dah), the news talk program had been terminated from Channel 9 last mid-September. Besides, it seems to show the consequence and development of "hand phone democracy", which is now becoming "e-democracy".

The program, which is hosted by Sondhi Limthongkul and Sarocha Phorn-udomsak has been acclaimed by their fans as the most intensive news-talk show of the country at present. Democracy voices have been exercised through SMS, which were expressions of the audiences' opinions while the program was on-air. The deeper and stronger the criticisms of Sondhi on Thaksin's government, the greater the participation of listeners become. At the same time, broadcasting on Thailand weekly is also weekly outcome of crystallized information from their e-newspaper called The Manager. It has now become the most popular news website that gets 2,000,000 clicks per day.

Sondhi has moved his program outdoor by conducting it at Thammasat University and currently at Lumpini Park , which is located in the heart of business district of Thailand. At first it gathered 1,000 to 50,000 audiences. These days the audience numbers to 100,000 that include both old and new fans. However, excluded are those audiences who watch the program through ASTV, another media channel provided by The Manager, which could be seen through the local cable TV network in different provinces.



People have doubted and wanted to know what was really happening in Thai society under Thaksin's regime. The termination of Sondhi's program hit people's doubts of the current situation that blocks freedom to information of people and freedom to expression of media. The situations are getting worse since the interference operated gradually by Thai rak, a Thai party that has ruled the country.

The phenomenon mentioned above emerged along with other demonstrations, for instance, Electricity Authority of Thailand protests against the privatization and several farmer groups protest for the prices of their agricultural produce.

The pervading atmosphere of the lack of media freedom is choking people. Sondhi becomes the best selected choice for people to know the other side of the coin, most often the dark side of information that exposes the government's corruption, crony system, Thaksin's attempt for absolute power and so on.

Nevertheless, instead of answering questions or defending the criticisms of Sondhi, the government uses its dark powers by blocking broadcasts access to The Manager's Media network and forcing their bureaucrats to file suit against Sondhi.

Significantly, reports of Sondhi, a hard core journalist, shows the essence of structural journalism such as an innovation that focuses on analyzing the relationship between each social structures, and exposing the real face of money politics which is led by marketing method.





Therefore, the attempt of government to suppress people's access to information by blocking the broadcasts of The Manager's Network and other media will erode government's credibility. Rather than disempowering the media, people are made to believe that Sondhi's criticism to government is reliable after all.

Politically, people's reaction through participating in Sondhi's news talk show should not only be recognized as the gathering of e-democracy voices but also should be recognized as the start of quiet demands for power which emerged in an effort to institutionalize a more democratic polity. The atmosphere of democracy in Thailand 's civil society movement had disappeared voluntarily or involuntarily since 1997 financial crisis.

As long as government underestimate the power of the people and does not respect public opinions such as freedom of information and expression, the result would be negative and disastrous that will continue to haunt and challenge the stability of the Thaksin Administration.

Under the context of globalization the world has been connected by flows of information through present technologies. Through the electronic media, a platform is afforded to people to promote democracy and give voice to their aspirations.

Finally, Thaksin's government should realize that people's power has returned, it is therefore hard for him to use unfashionable means of political suppressions. Moreover, he should be reminded that the experiences of Thai people on his on political games and machinations is not convincing for him to lasts and remain in his government seat.

by Sittha Lertphaiboonsiri
Asia-Europe Institute, University of Malaya
December 14, 2005
barongton@yahoo.co.uk

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good design!
[url=http://fludbyrj.com/szgd/dhkm.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://dfwekpnp.com/ptbf/dqte.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Well done!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Well done!
http://fludbyrj.com/szgd/dhkm.html | http://hiwyhmxy.com/brdy/aaps.html

Anonymous said...

Great work!
[url=http://jhgqoxew.com/rjdu/flxj.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://lclgixbj.com/jspb/irgn.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Nice site!
http://jhgqoxew.com/rjdu/flxj.html | http://tpbgkwom.com/sifh/ltxy.html

Anonymous said...

Great work!
[url=http://zqkepnwq.com/nnla/rxjg.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://jxcrkosu.com/fvmp/njzg.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Well done!
http://zqkepnwq.com/nnla/rxjg.html | http://eetjyrnx.com/suzc/pjvc.html

Anonymous said...

Nice site!
[url=http://fetmaxyt.com/rfvq/ksou.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://sdkiarqp.com/vzni/lvgt.html]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Good design!
http://fetmaxyt.com/rfvq/ksou.html | http://jrxgfuai.com/mroj/hxgz.html

Anonymous said...

Where is democracy today?
Probably not in Thailand...

Anonymous said...

Great article! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Nice site! Good resources here. I will bookmark!

Anonymous said...

I see first time your site guys. I like you :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent website. Good work. Very useful. I will bookmark!

Anonymous said...

TymbOd You have a talant! Write more!

Anonymous said...

rqI0KZ Good job!

Anonymous said...

X9clhO The best blog you have!

Anonymous said...

3O8D4h Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

Magnific!

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

Anonymous said...

Exn2ic write more, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to author.

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Magnific!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog.

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog.

Anonymous said...

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

Anonymous said...

If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.

Anonymous said...

Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!

Anonymous said...

Save the whales, collect the whole set

Anonymous said...

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

Anonymous said...

All generalizations are false, including this one.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how fast Windows runs? Neither did I.

Anonymous said...

Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Calvin, we will not have an anatomically correct snowman!

Anonymous said...

Save the whales, collect the whole set

Anonymous said...

Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?

Anonymous said...

640K ought to be enough for anybody. - Bill Gates 81

Anonymous said...

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

Anonymous said...

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

Anonymous said...

Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake!

Anonymous said...

Save the whales, collect the whole set

Anonymous said...

actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.

Anonymous said...

Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?

Anonymous said...

Beam me aboard, Scotty..... Sure. Will a 2x10 do?

Anonymous said...

Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.

Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

Anonymous said...

What is a free gift ? Aren't all gifts free?

Anonymous said...

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Anonymous said...

When there's a will, I want to be in it.

Anonymous said...

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.

Anonymous said...

When there's a will, I want to be in it.

Anonymous said...

Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.

Anonymous said...

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

Anonymous said...

Good job!

Anonymous said...

Magnific!

Anonymous said...

If ignorance is bliss, you must be orgasmic.

Anonymous said...

Build a watch in 179 easy steps - by C. Forsberg.

Anonymous said...

Please write anything else!

Anonymous said...

When there's a will, I want to be in it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

Anonymous said...

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

Anonymous said...

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies

Anonymous said...

actually, that's brilliant. Thank you. I'm going to pass that on to a couple of people.

Anonymous said...

Give me ambiguity or give me something else.

Anonymous said...

Clap on! , Clap off! clap@#&$NO CARRIER

Anonymous said...

Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.

Anonymous said...

Nice Article.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very nice

free auto insurance rates said...

FreeAutoRater.com We provide free auto insurance rate quotes online, save money quickly and easily by comparing multiple free auto insurance rates in minutes. Get free auto insurance quotes now. auto insurance quote.

Anonymous said...

1。那混合物是更缓慢的 ... 但是 Lexus 的即将到来混合版本 ' 将是比气体气体更快的唯一的版本如好地有多马力。不要自夸速度,但是我被吸引轮流开送行为 90,是警察给我一次休息。
2。那不是很
... 只是通过在城市乘公交车往返我储蓄过来 $ 5000/yr 与我的以前的汽车,吉普车切诺基相比。超过 5 年,会是 $ 更不用说会进一步增强我的储蓄的最近的比率远足的 20K。这样除非你是在你的父母的地产上吸的一个浪费的儿子,你的声明是一束公牛。

Anonymous said...

3. 45 (90 r/t)
45mpg 天是 2 我的车上> 8 加>>比。那每天是 6 >仑的一笔>蓄, 120 月, 1440 每年者 5040 (根 3.5 元/) ... 加上它发表 1/10th CO2。多愚蠢是它不要骑一个,去算进今天和年龄。
4.缺少了解 ... 是真的,实际上我个人这样那样喜欢它我可能享受所有鼓励;税,合伙用车,免费停车米, prius 业主之间的秘密的信号,等等;这样自私地说那我真地在那里在享受在所有气体汽车业主上的所有权那没有一个想法多少我这辆汽车有的嬉戏。我 junked 我的 SL,郊区对我的 Prius ... 你应该也。

Anonymous said...

pharmacy valiumaccutane buy online thailand pharmacy
[url=http://www.bebo.com/buyxanaxonline1]buy xanax online without prescription[/url]

Anonymous said...

pure hoodia pills 24kbuy prilosec pills

[url=http://www.bebo.com/buylevitraonline1]buy levitra online from dreampharmaceuticals[/url]

Video