Thai TV channel draws criticism for broadcasting Russian news about war in Ukraine


Thailand

This decision seems to be in line with the position of the government allied with the Thai army

A Thai Buddhist monk wears a mask painted in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian Embassy in Bangkok on March 19. (Photo: AFP)

A military-run TV channel in Thailand has angered many netizens for seeking to portray the Russian side in the European nation’s invasion of Ukraine by broadcasting content from Russian news sources.

Senior executives from Channel 5, which is owned by Thailand’s powerful military, met with Russian Ambassador Yevgeny Tomikhin this week to discuss sharing Russian media’s foreign news with the Thai public, according to a social media post by the media. Russian Embassy.

This decision appears to be in line with the position of the government allied with the Thai army, which declared itself neutral in the face of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.


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Many netizens have taken to social media to express concern that Channel 5 is becoming an apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly claimed what he calls a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine was necessary to uproot Nazism in the country. and protect Russian speakers from an ongoing genocide.

Russian media has provided no evidence of the presence of Nazis in the Ukrainian government or of an ongoing genocide of Russian speakers in the country.

“Why do they accept Russian news as news? Any information coming from Russia is controlled propaganda, you cannot believe a word of it. We will not invade Ukraine. Last thing they said before invading Ukraine,” one commenter on social media pointed out regarding the proposed collaboration between Channel 5 and Russian media.

“So the world condemned Russia for invading Ukraine, but Thailand brings [its] an army of child killers and a corrupt government to a Thai TV channel. I say boycott Thailand as a vacation country”

“What are you waiting for? This is one dictatorship making common cause with another,” another commenter explained.

“The only thing Russia and Putin’s regime can share is lies and betrayal!” said a third.

“So the world condemned Russia for invading Ukraine, but Thailand brings [its] an army of child killers and a corrupt government to a Thai TV channel. I say boycott Thailand as a vacation country. It is time to boycott all military dictatorships,” noted another commentator.

The Russian government maintains tight control over information in the country where even the word “war” is banned in connection with its invasion of Ukraine.

In Thailand, where current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha came to power in 2014 in a military coup, there is little media freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders, a group that monitors media freedom around the world.

“Any criticism of the government is always likely to result in harsh retaliation facilitated by draconian legislation and justice that obeys orders,” the group says.

“The threat of a lèse-majesté charge carrying a 15-year prison sentence continues to be used as a massive deterrent against dissident journalists and bloggers. Coverage or non-coverage of the massive pro-democracy protests in 2020 confirmed the extent of self-censorship within Thai media. One of the demonstrators’ main demands, the reform of the monarchy, has been systematically erased from media coverage,” explains Reporters Without Borders.

“The authorities, for their part, behave very leniently towards certain regimes: Cambodian, Chinese and Vietnamese agents have been authorized to come and arrest dissident journalists or bloggers exiled from their country to “repatriate” them and then imprison them.

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