Media and Elections

The nationwide broadcast channels are all controlled by either the government or the military. Some of these operate through concessions to private companies that run the channel while others are more directly under the influence of the government. Because of this, many TV channels are perceived to be biased and unreliable sources of objective news.

During the past 10 years of political conflicts in Thailand, the political polarization in the country has worsened, and freedom of expression for individuals has worsened with it. Media in Thailand remains highly politicized, biased and divided throughout of the pre-election and post-election periods. The use of hatred, dehumanizing words and characterizations is commonly seen and heard in the media on both political factions supporting different political ideologies. Both broadcast and print media can be categorized as supportive of one of the two major camps of either the red or yellow shirts.

Broadcast TV channels are the most influential media source throughout the country. They are taken advantage of by the party is in power. However, political pressure on the media is serious violation of the freedom of press.

Freedom of expression is restricted in Thailand by a number of laws including the Internal Security Act (2007), Computer Crimes Act (2007), and lese-majeste legislation (Art. 112). These laws have resulted in the closure of websites, media restrictions and a great deal of self-censorship. During electoral campaign, it puts restrictions on topics that can be discussed and therefore on a citizen’s access to public information. Freedom House moved Thailand from Partly Free to Not Free in their 2011 assessment of Press Freedom citing the use and abuse of the laws listed above. Thailand’s ranking in the Freedom House survey has fallen since the last election as freedom of the press and of expression has suffered in Thailand.


Thailand General Election 3rd July 2011, Report of the International Election Observation Mission, ANFREL, 2011,

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