Heads to roll at Channel 11? | Bangkok Post: learning

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Heads to roll at Channel 11?

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Politically motivated removal of staff at media outlets may be unconstitutional. The public interest more important than personal interest of politicians? 

Channel 11

Click button to listen to Purge at MCOT to download

EDITORIAL: Seeing red on Channel 11 (6/10/2011) 


In her supervisory capacity, PM's Office Minister Krissana Seehalak is empowered to instruct the Public Relations Department to review all news programmes currently broadcast by Channel 11. It is believed she intends to phase out news programmes produced by the private sector because she prefers shorter news bulletins and longer talk shows focused on the government's policies and work.

Although the real motive for such a "purge" at the state-run television station could be something other than the announced preference of the PM's Office minister, changes at the station in terms of TV programmes and of personnel in authority have been anticipated ever since Pheu Thai Party won the election.

The changes planned for Channel 11 merely represent one step in Pheu Thai's grand strategy of purging all state agencies of elements suspected of, or perceived to be supportive of, or closely associated with, the opposition Democrat Party. This is nothing unusual in Thai politics, where the "we" and "them" mindset remains strongly entrenched in our politicians.

Minister Krissana may honestly believe that Channel 11 is a state entity and she can do whatever she thinks is fitting regarding its programming.

But she would be only partly correct in that assumption. Channel 11, although operated by the Public Relations Department via the National Broadcasting Service of Thailand, is funded with taxpayers' money. As such, we citizens have every right to expect that the changes soon to take place there are carried out with the public interest being the overriding, if not the sole, consideration. Which means not only must the public be presented with the government's side of a story, but that the public must also be allowed to hear the opposing side as well. It would be pitifully narrow-minded of the minister if public access to the opposition's views or information is denied for the simple reason that they are the opposition.

It appears Minister Krissana and Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala could be courting unwarranted trouble if they interfere in the internal affairs of Mcot Plc, which runs Channel 11. On Sept 30, the PM's Office minister wrote to Mr Thirachai asking him to exercise his authority (the Finance Ministry is the major shareholder in Mcot Plc) and put on hold the Mcot board's restructural plans for the station's management, which entails a reshuffle of some top executives and staff members. In a swift response to the request, Mr Thirachai dispatched a letter that same day to Somchai Satjapong, director of the Office of the State Enterprises Police Committee, to execute Minister Krissana's request.

On the surface, it appears Ms Krissana's stepping in the internal affairs of Mcot Plc at the request of a group of dissatisfied staff members, is well-intentioned and aimed at ensuring fairness to all parties involved in the conflict at Mcot Plc. However, this "interference" by the two ministers could be deemed in violation of the Constitution's Sections 48 and 266 which, in essence, bar political office holders from interfering, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of a media outlet.

Mcot chairman Suraphol Nitikraipote says he and three board directors whose terms do not expire till April 2012, have come under pressure to leave the organisation prematurely. The chairman has so far refused to quit. Given the chairman's revelation, there surely is more than meets the eye here regarding the internal conflict at Mcot Plc. However, it is becoming clear to the viewing public that Pheu Thai's pledge of "no revenge" carries no credibility whatsoever.

(Source: Bangkok Post, EDITORIAL, Seeing red on Channel 11, 6/10/2011, link

Politics Vocabulary

heads to roll - when someone has their head cut off and it rolls off of the chopping block (meaning here: people lose their job, get "axed")

purge -
the removal of opponents (or people you think are your opponents) from an organization, after you gain power in the organization

capacity - a particular task or responsibility that a person has as part of their position or job
in her supervisory capacity - as part of her responsibility of managing or supervising employees (staff members) 

empowered - given the power to do something

review -
look at carefully and check for problems
review all news programmes - look closely at news programmes and possibly cut them

broadcast
- to send out a programme on television or radio กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว

X intends to Y -
X is planning to do Y in the future

phase out -
end something gradually

private sector -
the business sector, all the companies in the country
sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)

intends to phase out news programmes produced by the private sector


prefers X to Y -
likes X more than Y

news bulletins -
short pieces of news (between or in the middle of other TV programmes)

talk shows -
TV shows in which a host talks to interesting people such as politicians, professors, celebrities, etc (See Wikipedia)

she prefers shorter news bulletins and longer talk shows


state - government รัฐ
state-run television station  

preference - something that you want or like most ความต้องการ
announced preference of the PM's Office minister

personnel - people who work for a company or organisation
authority - power อำนาจ
personnel in authority - the people who work for an organization who have the power to make decisions

anticipated - expected; believe will happen, คาดว่าจะเกิดขึ้น
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง

motive - a reason for doing something แรงจูงใจ เหตุผล the reason why a person did something (took some action)

grand - very big ใหญ่โต
strategy - a plan to achieve a goal over a longer period of time (longer than a "tactic")
grand strategy -
the overall strategy (for what a business or political is hoping to achieve, for example)

elements - sets or groups of people องค์ประกอบ
suspected - thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
supportive
- helping
closely associated with - have some relationship with (such work together, in the same profession, friends, family, etc)
opposition
- of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government ฝ่ายค้าน ผู้ต่อต้าน

purging all state agencies of elements suspected of, or perceived to be supportive of, or closely associated with, the opposition Democrat Party

mindset
- the general way that people think about things, their attitude
the "we" and "them" mindset remains -
entrenched - firmly in place and difficult to move out ตั้งมั่น

entity - something which exists apart from other things, having its own independent existence
state entity -

fitting - suitable for a particular situation; appropriate อย่างสมพระเกียรติ
do whatever she thinks is fitting

assumption - something that you consider likely to be true even though you have no proof ข้อสันนิษฐาน
only partly correct in that assumption

funded - money provided for operation of a business or organisation ให้ความช่วยเหลือทางการเงิน ให้เงินลงทุน บริจาค
funded with taxpayers' money -

the public interest -
what is best for all people who live in the country (not just for some groups)

sole - only เดี่ยวๆ
consideration (verb) - giving careful thought to something before making a decision; to go over details before deciding to do a project
consideration (noun) - 1. one of the things to think about when making a decision; 2. one of the reasons for making a decision

the sole consideration - the only thing (factor) that is important when making a decision
the overriding consideration
- the most important thing (factor) when making a decision

we citizens have every right to expect that the changes soon to take place there are carried out with the public interest
being the overriding, if not the sole, consideration

the government's side of a story -
the way that the government views the situation (government viewpoint)
hear the opposing side as well -
the way that the opposing side views the situation (opposing viewpoint)

narrow-minded -
unwilling to consider new ideas or the opinions of other people
narrow - not wide; having a small distance from one side to the other, especially in comparison with the length แคบ

pitifully
- extremely bad; very small and not enough (from "pity" feeling sorry for how bad something is)
pitifully narrow-minded

public access to Y -
ability of every person to get Y (which they should have)
access - the ability to get something สิทธิหรือโอกาสในการใช้
public access to the opposition's views or information -

denied - not allowed to have or do something
simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
reason - an explanation of why (why an event happened, for example) เหตุ ; เหตุผล ; สาเหตุ
denied for the simple reason that

courting trouble -
asking for problems; doing something that will cause problems
warranted - seeming necessary or appropriate for the situation
unwarranted - not appropriate or not necessary
courting unwarranted trouble - doing that causes problems (that don't need to happen)

interfere - to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this การจงใจแทรกแซง
interfere in the internal affairs of Mcot - do something to change something in MCOT (an organization that they have no right to interfere in)

exercise his authority -
use the power he has

put on hold - stop for a period of time, stop temporarily

put on hold
the Mcot board's restructural plans for the station's management

reshuffle
- the process of changing the jobs or responsibilities of people in a particular group or organisation การปรับหรือโยกย้ายตำแหน่งคนในองค์กร
executives - a high level manager in a company (making plans and ensuring they executed successfully) ผู้บริหาร
staff members - workers, employees พนักงาน

reshuffle of some top executives and staff members

swift - fast; happening quickly อย่างรวดเร็ว โดยด่วน
swift response to the request

dispatched - sent
dispatched a letter - sent a letter

execute - to do or perform something, especially in a planned way ดำเนินการ
execute Minister Krissana's request

internal - existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
affairs - events and activities relating to the government, politics, economy etc of a country, region, or the world ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างประเทศ

on the surface, it appears ... -

dissatisfied - not satisfied, not happy because you did not get what you needed or wanted
dissatisfied staff members

well-intentioned

ensuring fairness to all parties
involved in the conflict

interference - the process of deliberately becoming involved in a situation and trying to influence the way that it develops การเข้าแทรกแซง

deemed - considered เห็นว่า ถือว่า
violation - the breaking of a rule or a law; an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. การฝ่าฝืน การฝ่าฝืนกฎหมาย
X deemed in violation of Y -

parties - people, companies, organisations involved in a business arrangement or deal
conflict - an angry disagreement between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง  ความไม่ลงรอยกัน

Constitution's Sections 48 and 266


essence
- the most important part of something, usually the part that gives it its general character แก่น
X which, in essence, Y -

bar - to not allow someone to do something
bar political office holders from interfering

could be deemed in violation of the Constitution's Sections 48 and 266 which, in essence, bar political office holders from interfering, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of a media outlet.

media - radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ

board directors

expire - to come to an end or stop being in use หมดอายุ
terms do not expire till April 2012

pressure - trying to force someone to do something
come under pressure to leave the organisation prematurely

revelation - a surprising piece of information การเปิดเผย
more than meets the eye
internal conflict at Mcot
becoming clear - becoming easier to understand (what is happening)

pledge - to make a serious promise to do something สัญญา

revenge - hurt someone because they hurt you
credibility
- believability; the degree to which something can be believed or trusted ความน่าเชื่อถือ,ความน่าไว้วางใจ
pledge of "no revenge" carries no credibility whatsoever -


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