At this stage of their ongoing rebellion the world’s English-language media is not being soft on the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
Attacks on the credibility and agenda of the PAD have started to come thick and fast. And to help clarify the direction of coverage after a weekend when Thai politics was featured in major newspapers across the globe I have put together a small selection of indicative descriptions of the PAD.
The Sydney Morning Herald goes with “the so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy”. The Irrawaddy talks up the “right-wing People’s Alliance for Democracy”. Radio New Zealand calls them a “conservative group”. In a slight refinement The Straits Times runs with “the royalist, right-wing PAD”. A letter to the editor of The Bangkok Post lets rip and says that “the current anti-government faction is a reactionary cultural movement whose principles are anathema to genuine political progressives”. The Economist takes it one step further and asserts that “the movement’s leaders are deeply reactionary: the ‘new politics’ that they have been preaching is in fact a return to old, pre-democracy politics”.
I can’t imagine these descriptions will immediately filter into the consciousness of protesters in Bangkok and elsewhere in the kingdom. Nonetheless I have struggled to find any international media with a good word to say about the PAD and its current strategy. In an earlier version of this article Reuters characterised the PAD as “a motley group of royalist businessmen and academics”.
This isn’t the kind of coverage that is going to help their cause.
Where does that leave media baron and anti-government rebel Sondhi “only this king can get the people the things they deserve” Limthongkul?
Will he run out of puff under a torrent of bad (international) press? Or does Sondhi, for whatever reason, just not care what the world thinks of his uprising?