Foreign Ministry on Friday sent a protest letter to the Economist magazine over two articles in its December issue which distorted the fact.
Ministry spokesman Director General Tharit Charungvat has sent a letter to the Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, expressing his concern and disappointment over the contents of two articles, “A right royal mess” and “The king and them” published in the 6-12 December 2008 issue.
In the letter, Tharit also pointed out and clarified the inaccuracies in the articles and calling for measures to rectify the situation.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
I am deeply dismayed by The Economist’s narrow views and condescending attitude. In trying to justify presupposed contentions, your double pieces (“The king and them” and “A right royal mess”, 4 December 2008) choose to give credence to writing by one American journalist about the King of Thailand and interpret events to suit his unfounded conspiracyprone speculations, while discarding important facts that prove otherwise. More fundamentally, the articles ignores the very fact that each country evolves from background specific to itself, and that the bonds between Thai people and their kings are deeply rooted in the kingdom’s centurieslong history.
Throughout his reign, the King has clearly demonstrated that he is above and not involved in politics, strictly adhering to the roles prescribed by law. His steadfast political neutrality adds to the weight of his words – his moral authority, not political power. His intervention has been few and, when made, was meant to prevent further bloodsheds among Thais as in 1992, not to side with any groups.
Nevertheless, political groups and analysts alike seem to have taken pains to get him involved. Prior to the military intervention on 19 September 2006, when Thailand’s political system seemed to have grinded to a halt, a call was made for a royally conferred government.
The King, in his address to the judges in April that year, refused and said clearly that the problems must be resolved democratically and through constitutional means. Had he no faith in democracy, he could have done otherwise and Thais would have obliged. There is no need, as there never has been, for any behindthescene intrigue, as alleged.
The affection and reverence that Thais feel towards him is genuine and shown voluntarily, stemming as much from their appreciation for his lifelong devotion and hard work for the wellbeing of all Thais as for his commitment to democracy.
Yet, due to this, some groups have sought to make claims of royal support or interpret his action or silence for their own political ends. Indeed, the King said in 2005 that he is not beyond criticism. But his position as being above politics does not allow him to respond to any political claims or allegations against him (unfortunately, including those made by the Economist) – thus the raison d etre for Thais to call for the socalled lesemajeste law to protect their King.
Here is another omitted fact: in Thailand as in other democracies, laws are enacted by parliamentarians who respond to the will of the people they represent. By neglecting facts and simple logics like these, your articles blatantly make wrongful accusations regarding the Thai King and inexcusably offend Thais. They deserve our protest in strongest terms.
Director General, Department of Information and
Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
A Response to The Economist’s Article–(Thailand) A right royal mess
The Economist’s article of December 4th, 2008 (A right royal mess) is absurd, misinformed, and misguided, expressing its revealed contempt
for the sincerely passionate feelings of majority Thai people for
their King, the most reverent Thai institution, as well as for the new
Thai Constitution of 2007.
The Economist unscrupulously has addressed Thailand’s current
political issues with irresponsible, fabricated stories based on
hearsays, gossips, tongue-lashing, saber-rattling, and holier-than-
thou attitudes to falsely describe the character of His Majesty the
King of Thailand, a symbol of Thai freedom from foreign interference,
foreign encroachment as well as foreign attempt to destabilize
Thailand with the aim to fully control its economic, financial, and
As a long-time observer of Thailand, what the Economist reported is
nothing new at all to most Thais. The only new thing is the Eonomist
absurdity of packaging these hearsays, gossips, tongue-lashing, saber-
rattling, and holier-than-thou disinformation in its prestigious
publication while presenting them as facts. As this article was done
in Bangkok, it must have cost bigger fools in the U.K. major
corporations to finance Economist staffers to visit Thailand,
interview the then Thai Government officials providing mostly
fabricated stories, and visit staffers of the U.K. and U.S. embassies
in Bangkok. Yet even bigger fools than the major corporations’
financiers are people who read this report, take it as facts, and
spread it as facts to their friends and families!
As a Chinese, I have nothing to gain or lose by writing this response
to the Economist but I truly hate bullies, especially naively stupid
bullies who thought they can get away with disseminating
disinformation to the world. I suggest that the Economist staffers
examine carefully why they were asked to fabricate disinformation
against innocent people of Thailand. The question is: why now? What is
the goal of your financiers–to further destabilize Thai political and
economic systems? The Thai economy already has been damaged by U.S.
globalists, the Wall Street financial speculators, who at the end had
become self-destructed last September–and my tax dollars have to bail
these despicable people from their own excrements! If you do not know
the strategic, geopolitical importance of the reported country, then
you always will become fools for your own publication, the Economist
Truly, there are concerted efforts to produce contemptibly fabricated disinformation on His Majesty the King of Thailand, the most reverent Thai institution, and Thailand’s internal political activities, only
in the U.K. and the U.S. I said this because across the Atlantic, the
same disinformation has been disseminated by The Washington Post
(Thailand’s Vicious Circle) on December 4th, 2008. Both the Economist
and The Washington Post concertedly have published the fabricated
stories about His Majesty the King of Thailand and Thai political
process on the same day, December 4th, 2008!
I could go on to dissect the rest of the Economist’s article as mostly garbage, but I should not spend much of my time on its nonsensical, fabricated stories. As I fully know the objectives of your financiers from the U.S. and the U.K. for Thailand, I look forward to your next contemptible publication on Thailand, perhaps to be financed by the
same fools from the U.K. major corporations!
Asia Books bans Economist over king article
BANGKOK (AFP) – The Thai distributor of The Economist said Tuesday it had banned this week’s edition of the magazine because it contained a story that was critical of the country’s widely revered king.
Asia Books said it had taken the decision because the article, which discussed the alleged role in politics of the 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, “risks insulting the monarchy.”
Thailand has the strictest lese majeste law in the world, under which anyone who insults the mainly Buddhist nation’s king or the royal family faces a jail term of up to 15 years.
“We received excerpts of the magazine beforehand and we considered that it’s sensitive and not appropriate, and also risks insulting the monarchy. So we decided not to import that edition,” an Asia Books staff member said.
Thai police said the importer had agreed to a self-imposed ban on the story — an article which the magazine itself admitted would make many Thais “squirm” because of its stance on the monarchy.
“Police have talked to importers and distributors who agreed not to import the issue of December 6-10 because an article in the magazine criticised the monarchy,” said Lieutenant General Thiradet Rodphothong, commander of Special Branch Police.
“Therefore the police do not have to officially ban the magazine,” he said.
The royal family’s role in politics has been a touchy subject in recent months because of street protests by an anti-government group claiming loyalty to the monarchy.
The protesters occupied Bangkok’s airports between November 25 and December 3, only giving up when a court banned the prime minister from politics and outlawed the ruling party.
King Bhumibol has not commented on the political crisis and was unable to make his traditional birthday eve address to the nation last Thursday because he was “mildly ill”, according to his son.
During his 62-year reign, the king has cultivated an image as a constitutional monarch above political tussles, only wading in during the 1970s and in 1992, when he ordered military dictatorships to end bloody crackdowns.
Thailand made headlines around the world last year when it blocked the popular video-sharing website YouTube after clips mocking the king started appearing.