Mom Oui calls for patient leaders

Mom Oui calls for patient leaders

Media outlets told to adapt to new trends

Former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula gives a speech marking the 22nd anniversary of the National Press Council of Thailand (NPCT). Varuth Hirunyatheb
Former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula gives a speech marking the 22nd anniversary of the National Press Council of Thailand (NPCT). Varuth Hirunyatheb

Former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula called on those in power on Thursday to be open to diverse opinions to avoid a repeat of violent confrontations as seen in the past.

While the digital age has brought communication convenience, Thai politics has taken several steps back for over 50 years, he said during his keynote speech "Professional Standards in the Digital Age" to mark the 22nd anniversary of the National Press Council of Thailand (NPCT).

MR Pridiyathorn, also known as Mom Oui, said the current political situation has made him feel the way he used to during the years leading up to the student uprising in 1971 and the massacre in October 1976 when right-wing groups led a massacre of students and protesters at Thammasat University.

Before the 1971 incident, ordinary people felt that military rulers had too much power and questioned asked why. Meanwhile, before the 1976 incident, there was a feeling of the "right that repressed the left". He said he did not want the political situation to get out of hand. The way to prevent a repeat of the past was for those in power to exercise smart actions, patience, and keep an open mind.

In another development, MR Pridiyathorn, who was deputy prime minister during the previous term of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha government, called on media outlets to make good use of social media to help them to fulfil their journalistic responsibility.

In his opinion, stories shared on social media are "bonuses" and can become sources of information that lead to investigative reporting. It would do journalism a great service if traditional media outlets could spark problem-solving on the ground level. "This is a great responsibility. If media outlets can do it, it will benefit the public," he said.


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