The hashtag #แบนช่อง3 (ban Channel 3) was trending Monday as netizens called out the news channel for allegedly misreporting clashes at the pro-democracy rally in central Bangkok the day before.
“Thai news media is useless. Why should I keep it?” one Twitter user wrote. “Burn it up!”
At least 22 people were arrested Sunday night following violent confrontations between pro-democracy demonstrators, led by Free Youth, and security officials. During their march from Victory Monument to an army base on Viphavadee Rangsit Road, protesters pelted officials with rocks and firecrackers, prompting the officials to respond with rubber bullets, water cannons, and batons.
During their live report, Channel 3 reporters could be heard saying that the state officials tried to negotiate with protesters who retaliated by throwing objects at the police.
Netizens said they failed to provide fair and balanced reporting based on events. The popular news channel allegedly misrepresented the facts, did not stream civilians and protesters being attacked by state officials, threw blame at the protestors, and only interviewed police officers on site, according to the netizens.
Now with more than 624,000 tweets, netizens are using #แบนช่อง3 to call for a boycott of the channel, which has faced criticism for cozying up to the military government over the years. Netizens are also blaming the media for allegedly playing a role in inciting the violence, and for preventing freedom of speech by failing to give the protestors’ side of the story.