When demonstrators demanding that Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra be ousted took to the streets of Bangkok they took their protest to six key rally points: six state-owned TV stations where they demanded that their messages be broadcast. Five conceded.
The current prime minister is the sister of Thaksin Shinawatra, a one-time cable TV magnate who was prime minister until he was deposed in a coup in 2006.
In 2010, his supporters took to the streets to demand his return – he was in exile but used his media holdings to beam messages to Thailand and call people out onto the streets.
This time the unrest has been spearheaded by a group called the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which says Prime Minister Shinawatra is just a puppet of her brother.
This is just another twist in the Thai political story played out in a factionalised media landscape. Talking us through the story this week is Sunai Pasuk, from Human Rights Watch, Al Jazeera correspondent Wayne Hay and two Thai journalists close to the story, Pirongrong Ramasooka and Noppatjak Attanon.
In this week’s Newsbytes: At least 51 local and international journalists have been injured while covering the largest anti-government demonstrations Ukraine has seen in nearly a decade. Reports suggest that much of the violence towards journalists is deliberate. In the UK, Alan Rusbridger, the editor of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, has issued a tough defence of his paper’s role in publishing the mass surveillance by British and American intelligence agencies. In Pakistan, three people have been wounded in an attack on a newspaper group. It is the second time that the organisation has been targeted this year. And, in Egypt, two high-profile bloggers have become the latest victims of a new law prohibiting unauthorised protests in the country.
For our feature this week, we take a look at drones, but not the ones used as weapons of war – the ones that are becoming tools of the journalistic trade. Because more and more news stories, particularly those on television, now include video shot by drones. Listening Post’s Will Yong reports on the potential – and some of the pitfalls – of the media’s unmanned eyes in the skies.
Call us old fashioned, but do you remember the time when phones were things attached to the wall, objects imbued with the sole purpose of ringing people, occasionally? That was a golden age, when things were simpler – and we were less distracted.
The smart phone may have given us the chance to witness history unravel around the world as it happened. But let’s face it: it has also made us a little unbearable. Because sometimes, like when you are having breakfast, or maybe you are just looking at a cloud float past – that is the time to put the smart phone down and actually just have the experience. Forget Instagram, Facebook, Watsapp. Put the phone down.
‘Get off the Phone’ is a music video put together this week by Rhett and Link – the Youtube comedy combo that we featured a couple of years back. Internetainers is what they call themselves. We are making it our web video of the week although we suspect a lot of you will be watching it on your phones.