Different perspectives benefit all of society
Media rights advocate Supinya Klangnarong from Thailand spoke during a panel discussion on advocacy versus objectivity at this year’s Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. The three-day conference in June focused on the role of the media in the context of human rights and globalization.
Klangnarong is vice-chair of the Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR), a national NGO working towards the democratization of communication. She is also a board member of the Thai Netizen Network, an independent network of Internet citizens working to uphold cyber liberty in Thailand.
Several years ago Klangnarong fought against the Shin Corporation, the former Thai Prime Minister’s family telecom and media business, over criminal and civil defamation lawsuits brought against her for an article published in the Thai Post. The cases were acquitted and withdrawn in 2006. The verdict was widely considered to be a victory for media independence and expression of freedom in Thailand.
In an interview with Alexandra Scherle, Klangnarong explained how the media – especially international broadcasters – can maintain a balance between commitment to a cause and objective coverage. They can, for instance, give a voice to those often neglected by the media.
She also says the media must guarantee the subjects of news stories “the right to reply” should they feel such a need after being featured in a news item. Ultimately it is a benefit to all of society to be exposed to different perspectives. Members of the audience can in this way form their own informed opinions.
Klangnarong says that in Thailand, international broadcasters do not play as strong a role as they have in the past now that online media, Internet access and satellite TV have gained more relevance. But, she adds, outlets such as BBC, VOA and DW remain an important option as long as they continue to provide accurate and high-quality information.