Thailand Slams Taiwan's Media Coverage of King's Death

Thailand Slams Taiwan's Media Coverage of King's Death
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign affairs has issued a press release saying, 'Such practices are not only unethical but also unprofessional, insensitive to the feelings of the Thai people and offensive towards Thai cultural traditions.'

International news outlets — including Taiwan's — on Oct. 13 scrambled to report the death of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch. However, a number of Thai people are not happy with how some Taiwanese outlets have reported on the matter.

Headlines reading, “Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej Dead, Is The ‘Thaksin Curse’ About To Come True?" (泰皇拉瑪九世駕崩 皇室不過九代「塔克辛詛咒」即將應驗?), along with reports centering on locals “wailing on the streets,” have sparked criticism from Thai nationals in Taiwan. Several media outlets also spent a lot of time reporting on President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) misspelling Thailand in the condolence card at the Thai representative office.

In the midst of such problematic coverage, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release on Oct. 15:

It has been found that some big foreign media have been reporting erroneous or false information and accusations that are of a manipulative and provocative nature. This is highly inappropriate, especially during this period of national mourning. Such practices are not only unethical but also unprofessional, insensitive to the feelings of the Thai people and offensive towards Thai cultural traditions.

In a Facebook post on Oct. 15, a Thai PhD student at National Taiwan University wrote, “I personally think the Taiwanese news reports are based on zero evidence, and there has been content that shouldn’t have appeared. For example, there are reports that mention a ‘curse,’ which is something the Thai people haven’t even heard of before. The news report also failed to mention a source for its information.”

The student also briefly explains why Bhumibol was “deeply loved” by his people, saying, “the King is not only a symbol [of the country’s] spirit, but also [he] brought together the spirit of all Thai people.”

The Thai Student Association in Taiwan posted on a Facebook page, Thailand Focus, saying that while it “thanks the Taiwanese media for paying attention and being concerned with Thailand affairs,” it hopes Taiwanese journalists could stop reporting “false” content.

The post also says, “If even the media is running exaggerated reports of Southeast Asian countries, and doesn’t understand the culture of these countries, will Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy’ go as smoothly as hoped?” [sic]

►Related News: "Mixed Views on Thailand’s Outlook after King’s Death"

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole


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