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People's media and reform efforts in Thailand

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Abstract:

A major limitation in the development and protection of people's media in Thailand is the unstable and highly polarized political environment in which governments are short-lived and the constitution is not taken seriously as the fundamental law of the land. As a result, media have become tools in larger political struggles. This analysis demonstrates that while several foundational elements necessary to promote people's media are emerging in Thailand, others are still lacking. A clear understanding of people's media as distinguished from both state and commercial media has recently gained strength. Yet, constitutional protections for people's communication rights are nevertheless undermined by politicized media laws that in practice carry more weight than the constitution and prevent people from acting on their communication rights with confidence. This article explores these issues, and discusses two forms in which people's media have found a space to operate community radio and Internet-based people's media. The analysis finds that while these media still find themselves struggling to survive a complex and constantly shifting policy environment, the basic concept of communication rights has taken hold, in the process providing lessons for people's media elsewhere.

Keywords: Thailand; civil society; constitution; media laws; media policy; media reform; people's media

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/macp.5.1-2.103_1

Affiliations: 1: Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA. 2: Campaign for Popular Media Reform, Thailand.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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