In May 2013, “Look Back and Gaze Forward for Democracy” show (broadcast on Asia Update Channel every Friday – Saturday from 21:00pm – 22:00pm), Prof.TidaTavonsate together with Prof.JarunDittapichai, Pakdee Tanapura and Dr. WengTojirakarn announced the current policy of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to reach out to the world.
Prof. Tida, president of the UDD Red throughout the Land, believes that communication with the world outside of Thailand is “importantfor the Red Shirt cause”. She commented, “We could have presented ourselves better than this but it was not an urgent issue at the beginning of our struggle for democracy”, referring to the UDD’s international image. “We have to admit that our opposition, supporters the 2006 coup such as the oligarchy (A-mart) and the Democrat party, has been doing a really good job on the international front. We found ourselves almost always on the receiving end of global criticisms from the very beginning because of the lies spread by our opponents through the old oligarchic networks, their affiliation with various NGOs (domestic & international) and especially their close ties with Thailand’s leading English newspapers. They used words such as “intervention” instead of “coup d’état” to report the military overthrown of the government in 2006 because, they know that the word coup is taboo in the eyes of the international community.”
The UDD has set up a committee comprising of Dr. WengTojirakarn, Pakdee Tanapura, and Prof. JaranDittapichai to oversee the internationalcommunication policyof the Red Shirts with the aim of the world about the people’s fight for democracy in Thailand. The organization will use various social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. UDD English blog (Thairedshirsts.org) and twitter page (udd_english) will present the Red Shirts side of the story and provide a platform for international media to contact the UDD directly.
Prof. Jaran believes that “a foreigner would often get the wrong idea about the political situation in Thailand because their only sources of information are Thai embassies and the two leading English newspapers in Thailand, the Nation and Bangkok Post. With such limited resources, it is difficult for foreigners to grasp the complete political picture of Thailand. Prof. Jaran understands how social media can be a very powerful tool for any political movement. He referred to the example of “Arab-spring”that began in Egypt and Tunisia through Facebook pages and websites. Nine out of ten Egyptians and Tunisians activists said when responding to a poll conducted by the Arab Social Media Report by the Dubai School of Government,that they have used Facebook to organize protests and spread awareness. 30% of them admitted that blocking Facebook “significantly disrupted their line of communication”.
Following Prof. Jaran comments, Pakdee Tanapura added that he “personally followed the news by accessing foreign press in English and French but my favorite is Al-jazeera. What is bothering me though, was that this year, a reporter from Aljazeera came to Thailand to conduct an interview on the political situation in Thailand and chose only to interview PAD’s co-leader Mr.Kasit Piromya. Why did they want to interview a person who supported the coup d’état and acts of violence such as the shutting down of an airport? Why are they not interested in getting the other side of the story? Thisonly shows that we need an outlet to clarify our position to foreigners. Otherwise they will never be able to understand what is really going on within our UDD organization or the country itself.”