Concerns raised over quality of news content
A consumer rights activist has expressed concern over the quality of Thailand's news coverage and media content, and urged the industry to raise the bar to better educate audiences.
"Thai content is of poor quality from the perspective of consumers," said Saree Aongsomwang, secretary-general of the Thailand Consumers Council (TCC).
Ms Saree said some Thai outlets choose to produce programmes involving frivolous content, such as lottery-related news, ahead of each draw, or take the wrong approach to their coverage of some news stories, choosing to focus on drama and excitement rather than the gravity of the crimes.
"Thai journalists work more like police with their hunger to find who committed the crime, even though audiences actually want to know about the actual cause of that crime rather than who committed it," said Ms Saree.
She said it should still be possible for Thai content creators to make quality content while keeping ratings growing, using an Indian film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, as an example to support her argument.
Gangubai Kathiawadi was duped and sold to a brothel and the movie recounts her fearless escape from a world in which she was once a pawn.
It was one of the most popular Netflix movies among Thai and international audiences.
Ms Saree was speaking at a public seminar titled " Quality Content and Opportunities for Growth in Rating" held by students of the Mass Media Strategy executives course from the Isra Institute yesterday.
Assoc Prof Pijitra Suppasawatgul, from the Faculty of Commercial Arts, Chulalongkorn University, said ratings acted as an income indicator for traditional Thai media platforms amid fierce competition from streaming services, and noted an improvement in the coverage of Thursday's tragedy in Nong Bua Lam Phu.
"Journalism is not just a mirror on society. It is a guiding light for society as well.
"In terms of economics, some new media business models are going to emerge as audiences' alternatives for good, quality content," Assoc Prof Pijitra said.
Vachara Vacharaphol, CEO of Triple V Broadcast (Thairath TV), however, said the one factor that affects income above all others is ratings, and producing quality content which earns the ratings which broadcasters expect has always been a talking point in what is a fiercely competitive industry.
"To strike a balance, broadcasters must consider the right time slot for the content they desire to present, especially content that matches human interests," Mr Vachara said.