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BaronTT

Scepticism remains over government's ability to achieve national recon

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I'm surprised no one posted this earlier. Note our friend Nick's fame. I was wondering if he has a work permit as a photojournalist... I would think he was at risk if he didn't. The government probably is not terribly pleased with him right now.

 

 

Scepticism remains over government's ability to achieve national reconciliation

By PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK

THE NATION ON SUNDAY

Published on May 30, 2010

 

 

Foreign diplomats, correpondents anxious to learn more about plan to placate red-shirts; PM to focus on rule of law

Foreign correspondents who met with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday in an hour-long session to hear the PM discuss the political crisis remained sceptical about events leading up to the May 19 crackdown on red shirt protesters and the prospects of national reconciliation.

 

Many questions by mostly Western reporters focused on whether the government used excessive and disproportionate force to bring an end to the red-shirt protest at Rajprasong intersection or not.

 

German freelance photographer Nick Nostitz claimed he was with unarmed protesters "who merely want to exercise their political rights" but were shot at by soldiers. He asked Abhisit about accountability under the Emergency Decree.

 

The PM replied by saying soldiers did fire warning shots but live bullets were used in self defence and on clear targets.

 

He asked Nostitz to submit evidence.

 

"If you have that please submit [it] to the investigating committee. You're welcome to provide the testimony," the PM said.

 

Abhisit also said later it may be unfair to say civilians were killed because of "indiscriminate use of firearms" by soldiers.

 

In regard to six bodies inside Pathum Wanaram Temple, Abhisit said a "full investigation still needs to be made". His vow came despite a government document handed to journalists yesterday concluding that what took place was the result of attacks by "those armed with weapons of war" but people who were not soldiers.

 

The mood was not good partly due to the distribution of a text by the government prior to the hour-long session listing 12 "common misperceptions of foreign media regarding the current situation in Thailand".

 

One western journalist complained after the hour-long session to his peers: "We don't have this kind of shit in the Soviet Union [era]!"

 

An Associated Press reporter asked why prachatai.com news-site continued to be blocked while state-controlled NBT television, which was full of "hate and fear mongers" broadcast freely. The premier said he didn't know about prachatai.com but added that its web-board discussion may have defamatory content.

 

"The whole website should not be shutdown. I thought we lifted [it] for a while. But I will look into the matter again."

 

Nirmal Ghosh, of Singapore's Straits Times newspaper, pointed out to the PM that Thailand continued to be divided for the past year and a half, although Abhisit talked about reconciliation and elements of red shirts were now being suppressed.

 

Abhisit replied by saying his reconciliation was based on the rule of law. "It is not the government side that is reluctant in offering solutions," he said, adding that he hoped to separate extremists from ordinary people.

 

On the charge of a plot to overthrow the monarchy, Abhisit claimed without producing any evidence that a printed text had been produced by "people who openly say that they have an aim to do just that".

 

Asked by another journalist why some members of the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD) had been not punished yet, the premier said "they're under the same law". Sitting to the left of Abhisit was Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, a staunch PAD supporter who went up on PAD stage several times.

 

Kasit did not look pleased.

 

The previous session with members of the diplomatic corps, heads of international organisations and foreign chambers of commerce was closed to journalists.

 

An Asian diplomat from an influential Asian country told The Nation he did not come out more convinced by the PM's explanation of recent events and the session "didn't explain too many things".

 

"Basically it's still the same things that he has been saying."

 

 

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/05/30/politics/Scepticism-remains-over-governments-ability-to-ach-30130474.html

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That article makes it sound as though all the journalists present were Red sympathizers. There must have been some who see the government point of view. They decided not to speak I guess.

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It does sound rather like the journalists were being impersonated by red shirt leaders. WTF? :hmmm:

 

I'd like to see the journalists ask the same sort of questions of Takky and the red leaders, if they ever get the chance ... or even think it would be newsworthy.

 

p.s. Remember that NN was very pro-Somchai government in the confrontations with the yellow shirts. Not exactly a non-biased observer : "who merely wanted to exercise their political rights". The right to close intersections, shut down a city, invade the parliament building, take over Ratprasong and threaten to close Silom etc etc. Shooting them was a bit much, but try such acts in Bayern and see how long you get away with it! :shakehead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peer pressure at work most likely. Journalists are not immune to it. Could be Pravit's own agenda....or the Nation's. Nick is a man of the people whatever that means. I've just about given up on any kind of balanced perspective.

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But Nick's work - at least what I saw - didn't he document that the people who were shot or got shot at were making barricades, throwing firebombs - etc...

 

Not really "innocent" bystandings caught in the cross fire now where they?

 

Nick would not have been covering them if they were just innocent bystanders - he was basically looking for the fight, right, even by his own admission.

 

Or did I read the government website version of events?

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Perhaps they should start refering to it as Urban v Rural or Rich v Poor

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Good journalists ask the hard questions! If the PM has weak answers, don't blame the journalists. :twocents:

 

 

 

 

Well, Abhisit's answer to Nick wasn't weak. Show the proof he said, and give it to the investigating commitee. Seemed a reasonable answer to me.

 

While slingshots are not weapons of mass destruction they are hardly what peaceful demonstrators use, nor are Molotov cocktails and M79 grenades. Many of the pics I saw of Nick's on one website were not of peaceful protesters.

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