The Rise and Fall of the Bangkok Post

Last week, for the first time in nearly twenty years, I went to the newsstand and bought a single English paper…it was the Nation….the first time I have ever left the Bangkok Post unpurchased on the newsstand.

I was deeply disappointed in 1992 when the Post left parts of its pages blank rather than upset the government of the day during the Suchinda government crisis. But I managed to put this shameful episode behind me and continued to read the Post until now.

But I can no longer attribute any credibility to a newspaper managed by journalists who cave in to pressure from major shareholders. Firing the news editor after 20 years experience because of one mistake was management overkill and totally unwarranted.

I realize the Chirativat family are terrified the SRT will not renew their lease on Central Ladprao (their most profitable store) due to their abuse of the existing lease by building a convention centre in contravention of their lease agreement.

It is a sad day, however, when the government of the day can pressure this family into firing two of the Post’s most qualified journalists simply by threatening their other business interests.

Perhaps its time the family sold their shares in the Post since the ongoing pressure, hassle and general poor publicity, is probably not worth the effort of keeping this investment.

7 responses to “The Rise and Fall of the Bangkok Post

  1. It is indeed sad that the situation has come to this .
    One would have thought a very prominent article in the “Post” stating that it had made a mistake and a suitable contribution to charity would have settled the matter. Instead, the Government has made a big issue out of it and has subsequently lost a lot of credibility and face.

    There are no winners.

  2. I myself rarely read the Bangkok Post these days (although I must admit that I am particularly fond of Kong Rithdee’s articles) – it’s the Nation all the way for me.

    The Nation’s often biting criticism of the current government is certainly a thing not to miss!

    If you aren’t already aware of it, there’s this great site you HAVE to visit to see the contrasts between the two papers:

    http://www.2bangkok.com/tale.shtml

  3. Pity it took you so long to have a go at reading The Nation.
    You mention way back to the days of the Suchinda regime and the BKK Post has been through loadsa of these disputes in the meantime.
    This is the second one in as many months.

    For sure The Nation has had a run-in with many an influential person over the years but they keep track and are less afraid of disputes than the BKK Post. And yes, they have a bigger mouth too.

    Living upcountry, i cant be bothered these days having to trail into the market but when i do buy a English Langauge Daily its a bit off a toss up. For sure i buy the Post on Sundays as its got both the Outlook and Perspective and even a decent comic strip. Couple of decent writers write there on a Sunday too.

    When im in the mood for a bitta gossip, i get The Nation. If its sports news, then i’ll pick The Bkk Post.

  4. Since I don’t read Thai script, my favorite Thai newspaper has to be Thai Rath, their many picutres of those caught “being themselves”, in various aspects of daily life are most amusing!

  5. I’ve grown up reading the Bangkok Post at my house. We still do, as a matter of fact. But once the papers hit the internet, I found myself gravitating toward the Nation online because it was more reader-friendly, plus they have photos, AND they let you voice your opinion right there at the end of the article.

    I agree that the Nation is more mouthy, and that’s very refreshing from the ho-hummin’ nature of Bangkok Post. 🙂

    But from this far away from home, I like them both as they give me the window to what’s going on at home and I can share the stories with my non-Thai friends more easily.

  6. That title has a larger breadth than what the content did manage to cover. An article titled “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” should not start and end with the burning of Rome. 🙂

    But I agree with the main point of the blog; the punishment was way out of proportion to the mistake the editor made. I read in The Nation that there was a protest amongst the editorial staff of the Post, and a Farang boss was blamed.

    As for which one is better, well… initially I’ve read both, rather indiscriminately. Whichever I happen to come by first. Later I settled with The Nation, not so much because of better content, but simply because of its title. You see, I thought I will get a broader perspective from a paper that’s not focused so much on the capital. Later, when I became aware of the subtitle, it didn’t matter much anymore: I got already used to it, and up to this day, it’s my preferred choice.

    The university, however, is not so discriminating: we subscribe to both.

    I noticed that the Nation is praised for its outspokenness. I had a different impression just the other day when I opened it at the “Opinions/Editorials” section. There was a lengthy article about the constitutional powers of the King. When I saw it, I thought “hmmm, finally an editor has the guts to write about the Royal Family!”.

    I knew exactly what brought the article about: the controversial remark of an Army general about the latest cabinet reshuffling, which is still awaiting royal endorsement. The guy said something along the lines of “No one has the power to change this, the PM signed it already”, and indeed, Thaksin&Co went ahead with their decision, as if the Royal endorsement was a mere formality.

    But I digress. There was this artcile that emphasized the King’s practical role in this Constitutional Monarchy. I thought that it was a great article and I praised the brave soul who decided to write it. However, at the end there was a tiny footnote, informing readers that the whole article was cut&pasted from an age-old speech of a former big-shot. It was the epitomy of cowardly ways of voicing opinions.

    That’s how ‘outspoken’ The Nation is. :/

  7. Mervin Molina

    To the writer: Ben Feller

    Kindly check your issues about : Parents kids pay for good grades”. That the issue is about in Washington, however the picture that been attached is our Philippine money how come? Can you explain this, i am the one avid reader of the bangkok post… Please nextime kindly check your issue!

    Thank you..