Thai Language Newspapers

One aspect of living in Thailand that has caught my attention is comparing Thai language newspapers to the English language papers.  There are some interesting differences.

For starters, there are approximately ten daily Thai language newspapers and two English language papers here in Krungthep.  Bear in mind that the population of the greater metropolitan area is between six and ten million.  The lower number represents the officially registered population, but the higher number represents the many laborers who come in from the countryside but never re-register their address from their home province.

It amazes me that there are so many newspapers here.  Now, they aren’t all newspapers in the way you might define a newspaper if you are from the US or Canada.  Some are more political, some focus mostly on sports, others are mostly tabloids.  But they are all daily news publications.

The English language papers – the Bangkok Post and The Nation – looks and feel much more like a traditional Western paper: news section, sports section, business section, and lifestyle section.  One could argue about the quality of their reporting, but that’s for another entry.

The Thai language papers, even the ones that profess to be serious news outlets, are not shy about using shocking, barely redacted images on their front pages.

Almost every day there is a scene from an accident, a murder, a bomb attack in the South, etc.  The bodies are pixelated in an attempt to protect the sensitivities of the readers, but they don’t try very hard.

These two examples are pretty tame.  The worst image I’ve ever seen was in the case when a young man rather stupidly climbed a pole supporting high-tension power lines.  He was electrocuted and his charred body was caught up in the lines.  The image on the front page of one paper showed the unmistakable image of a charred body, twisted up in the power lines.  Gory.

I guess you could make the argument that showing more graphic images keeps people from living in the illusion of a sanitized world, free of death, violence, and ugliness.  However, I’m not sure I need to see such graphic sights over my breakfast to help me fully apprecaite the world.  Thoughts?


0 thoughts on “Thai Language Newspapers

  1. Seems like the local newspapers are more tabloid oriented and attention grabber. The English newspaper ‘Nation’ needs to buff up their contents perhaps? Was that Thaksin at the upper left corner of the first photo? If so, what was it about? Just curious!

  2. That’s awful. There are much better filters to use to hide the body. And even pixellated, we shouldn’t be displaying dead bodies like that in the first place. I know a lot of people don’t believe in it, but I believe that we should respect the dead.I don’t know if you know this, but my family is the franchise owner of the pacific-region of the largest Chinese newspaper in the world. So we’ve been in media for over 25 years now, myself personally at least, in some capacity or another. The day we publish something like this is the day I lose all respect for our publication.When news resorts to sensationalism to attract readers, there’s something gravely wrong.

  3. I think newspapers are hitting a new low. the more gossip scandal and gore there is the more readers they have and they aren’t ashamed to fabricate their stories a little bit. And by this I speak for The Times of India and the Pune Mirror. It’s all just trash. Most of it anyways.

  4. Wow. I can see your point about the Thai newspapers not hiding the horrific images so much like American papers, showing a more realistic perspective, in a way. On the other hand, yeah, how much of that do we really need to see? I don’t know. :-/ It would be really hard for me to take.

  5. The bestselling newspapers in Mexico are the “yellow” papers covering murders, rapes and all kinds of unsavory activities. They of course also tend to have a naked girl page to please their audience. If you open one of those the blood will splatter you!The rest of the papers are like your usual Western daily.

  6. I think the more graphic, the better. But, of course, the loved ones of those killed have to be considered.From how I see things, I think showing what actually happened does more to a reader than a mere fatality statistic; readers will react to it more and form a more stronger opinion on the state of thing (a good thing).

  7. Thanks for your take on this. My Thai never really got good enough to delve into the papers, but I’m a news junkie who was always curious, and of course one can’t miss the photography. Enlightening post about something that fascinates me. Thanks.

  8. Maybe no pictures are even necessary for those news? I am not a fan of being handled by kid glove, but I agree, those things are graphic enough with imagination alone…Hm…maybe I have quite an active imagination

  9. I think this proves that the media’s handling of what is and what is not news worthy is universal.  I am sad that we hardly hear much about Haiti now-the worst for the country’s recovery is on-going and deaths are rising with the spread of disease due to sanitation issues.  Sadly for the mainstream news, this is yesterday’s story and we’ll don’t hear much about it now. 

  10. i’ve never seen the pixelated effect before…that’s quite interesting…i’ve actually seen much worse in a local chinese newspaper…a stabbing victim’s face was on the front page for all to see…

  11. Over here, newspapers are displayed so that the front pages are easily viewable by everyone walking by (including children) and for this reason I don’t think it is good to have such graphic details right there on the front page. Also, as someone above has already mentioned, what about the families of the victims ?

  12. @CurryPuffy –  About ten days ago (just after these pictures were taken) the Supreme Court ruled on how much of the 76 billion baht of Thaksin’s seized assets would be retained by the gov’t. In the days leading up to the ruling all the papers were full of a lot of speculation.@arenadi –  Interesting – I didn’t know you were into journalism. That would be the Sing Tao Daily?@gweirdo –  @Dezinerdreams –  Sounds like the Thai newspapers learned their tricks from their Indian peers!@decembriel –  @TheCheshireGrins – Yeah, the images are overwhelming, aren’t they?@Gunner_Poole –  You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed the entry.@TheLatinObserver –  Yeah, some of our papers also have the scantily clad females, too. Death sells, sex sells…@stepaside_loser –  I can see your point. Theoretically, showing the full images makes the damage/murder/violence/etc. more real. But my suspicion is that most of the time adding a face or a dead body doesn’t provide enough information to really form a connection and see the victim as more than a statistic. We would have to know more about their life, their family and friends, the impact they had, etc. In the end, I think the use of graphic images is more for commercial purposes rather than an attempt to make a more profound effect of the audience.@yang1815 –  I suspect that the pixelation is part of the regulation, either formally or informally (self-regulated).@Wangium –  Regarding your imagination, Jason, I have one word for you: zombies.@Art4ArtSake –  Good example. On the other hand, if we followed every tragedy for weeks, months, and years on end – plus adding all the new tragedies and events – we would wind up overwhelmed with information. But some sort of follow-up on stories rather than just letting them slip away from our memory might be useful.@onmovement –  And I bet that paper has much better sales than those that “protect” their sensitive readers!@CandidLand –  Well, the protests were going on here in Bangkok, but the protests were happening only on a few limited few blocks in the older section of the city. The news media (since we’re on the topic of sensationalism) kept focusing on just those few isolated incidents and made things look much, much worse than they were.@Chatamanda –  Consideration of the family members of the deceased is an important thing. Very disrespectful of their privacy.

  13. @christao408 – Correct, Sing Tao Daily :)We don’t share the same edition as you receive in Thailand, so you’ll almost never see anything I’ve contributed to the paper. We print in the Western USA edition, but I’ve had photos print to the front page of the International before (very very very rarely though).

  14. Thats interesting.  Our newspapers have got a bit more graphic that those in the US but you wont see blood in them.  I actually think its a good thing to show what really happens especially in the case of traffic accidents – it can shock people into driving better

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