The Media and Political Change in Southeast Asia

The Media and Political Change in Southeast Asia

Karaoke Culture and the Evolution of Personality Politics

Jonathan Woodier

Jonathan Woodier’s latest work considers what impact the media has upon the democratization process in Southeast Asia. Has the media had a liberalizing effect or become subject to elite control in Southeast Asia and, if so, why? What role does the global media play in this process, particularly given its conglomerization and commoditization? By examining the communications media and its relationship to political change in Southeast Asia, this fascinating study will endeavour to provide both a regional comparative analysis and a more balanced interpretation of the mass communication media in the wake of September 11, 2001. The book also investigates the durability of authoritarian regimes and the enduring capacity of the media-controlled state alongside the growing sophistication of political communications – particularly the use of PR consultants.

Chapter 7: The Rise and Fall of the Media Dictator: Thailand and the Continued Influence of the Military in Southeast Asia

Jonathan Woodier

Subjects: politics and public policy, international relations


7. The rise and fall of the media dictator: Thailand and the continued influence of the military in Southeast Asia INTRODUCTION Any consideration of the media environment in Thailand, must take particular account of the military and its place in the political culture of the country. The military has played a central role in the independent existence of the Thai state and, by means of ownership as well as authoritarian control, the development of the mass communications media. As we have already seen in the Indonesian case study, given that the military by its very nature is neither an open nor liberal institution, it is likely that it can only serve as a constraint to the development of a free Press as this is understood in a western context. Even before the military coup of 1932, which introduced the constitutional monarchy, it was closely connected with the development and control of the Thai broadcast industry. But, from the end of the absolute monarchy until the ousting of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September 2006, sporadic attempts to clamp down on the media instigated by the political elites, often dominated by the military, have taken place. The media environment was historically predisposed to guidance by Marshall Phibun, one of the sponsors of the 1932 coup, a Thai nationalist and admirer of Japan, who dominated the Thai political scene until he was replaced by another military commander, Marshall Sarit, in 1957. The development of a political coalition combining the military with...

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