Cooking the news and pushing the news out before the events actually occur can result in unintended consequences Under the title: “Kasit to meet Cambodian counterpart in Siem Reap” the Nation, on 4 February reported that “Second Army Region chief Lt-General Thawatchai Samut-sakorn, who oversees the area, said he could not force Cambodia to remove the flag hoisted over Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara as it might
spark a major conflict between the two countries.”
On the other hand, Thai media outlet Naewna, on 29 January 2011 whipped up a story to sensationalize the situation at the Keo Sikkha Kiri svara pagoda with the purpose of igniting the military conflicts between Cambodian and Thai troops. Naewna’s fertile imagination lacks professionalism in reporting and writing the news. No one can put the leash on a dog that goes crazy and runs wild, because it is an unordinary dog that enjoys the love of his “big” master.
Naewna cooks the story saying that Thai troops came to the pagoda, dismantled one flag panel and were on the way to dismantle the second one, but they were stopped by the Cambodian troops and withdrew to the Thai side of the border. This is completely false, speculative and provocative intended to poison public opinion and sow misunderstanding between the legitimate governments of Cambodia and Thailand at the time when good relations and cool heads are needed. At the end of the day between Naewna and Thai Second Army Region chief Lt-General Thawatchai Samut-sakorn, who oversees the area, the public at large can see that Naewna is worth the name of the garbage new outlet.
It is also disappointing to notice that the Bangkok Post on 3 February 2011 has joined the fray to
sensationalize news reporting intended to intoxicate and mislead public opinion by publishing that “Suthep,
Thawil fly to Phnom Penh” on an urgent trip on Thursday (3 February) to meet Samdech Akka Moha Sena
Padei Techo Hun Sen “to discuss strained relations between the two countries.” In reality no such things
occur this past Thursday.
In all fairness, it should be said that there have been good, balanced and fair news reports, commentary, opinion, and analysis in both The Bangkok Post and The Nation. However the eagerness to push out the news before the actual events took place could damage the reputation of the news outlets most importantly it can result in unintended consequences damaging the good relations between two neighboring countries.
Institute for International Affairs, Cambodia
4 February 2011