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Pattaya Daily News

04 May 2008 :: 11:05:42 am 28706

Media Groups: PM Samak Hinders Responsible Discourse

BANGKOK, May 3 - World Press Freedom Day was marked here by media professionals in a report and successive speakers identifying Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej himself as being Thailand's biggest obstacle to the free flow of information considered basic to participatory political life.
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The prime minister normally wields “intolerance toward different views which entirely contradicts the culture of democracy,” according to the Organizations of Media Occupations, and uses abusive and disrespectful relations with the media to allow no expression of other points of view. .

Mr. Samak poses a threat to the freedom of the press and is counter-productive to the development of democratic society by his antagonistic discourse with all sectors of the media, according to the Thai Journalists Association.

At the first sign of criticism the prime minister replies to queries with his often-voiced, “Give me a break,” or “Give me a chance to work,” and avoids answering the question.

In a hefty 142-page report on six months of media encounters issued Saturday in recognition of World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Samak’s crude language, his abrasive manner, his reluctance to cooperate with the media and his rebuttal of criticism during media interviews are shown as intending to discredit the media and preventing professional communicators from carrying out their function of reporting and critiquing the government’s performance.

The study looks at the behaviours, patterns and communication strategies which Mr. Samak demonstrates in interviews on television, in the print media as well as his public talk show entitled “Samak Talks”, aired from October 2007 through March this year.

The study details eight communication behaviours and strategies, including deliberately choosing incoherence or providing answers so terse as to be useless.

Mr. Samak frequently changes the subject, avoiding answering questions by rebutting reporters with questions of his own, casting scorn on interviewers, ‘spinning’ the news, questioning the questions, or refusing to answer.

Implication and innuendo, derogatory satirical and avoidance of substance is used by the prime minister, packaged with abusive language used to ‘correct’ and rebut negative media reports about him and his administration.





Usually facial gestures and body language, Mr. Samak often frowns when he is displeased with reporters’ questions and shows bold, fierce expressions when attacking political opponents. He uses hand gestures when talking to the press, often pointing an index finger at the subject of his ire highly disrespectful in polite Thai society.

He shows his temper, frowning with expressive eyebrows when displeased, and with a softer voice, when in a good mood.

“Samak Talks,” his regular programme, consists of rebuttals to criticism from political opponents in newspapers, television, political speeches and academic meetings. He often characterizes his critics as being unethical, vulgar and generally “bad guys”. (TNA)



Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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