Opinion: Channel 5 cozying up to the Russians should surprise no one

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After teaming up with right-wing media presenters at Top News to continue to discredit the pro-democracy movement in Thailand, the military-run Channel 5 is now joining up with the Russian Embassy to spread Russian propaganda to its viewers.

Executives from the channel met with Yevgeny Tomikhin, the Russian ambassador to Thailand, on Tuesday evening.

They said the meeting was meant to create cooperation between Channel 5 and Russia’s news agency to provide “facts” and combat “fake news”.

The Thai channel said they are willing to provide an equal footing for Russia’s news instead of only providing information from international news agencies such as Reuters.

Their excuse is that the move was meant to provide Thai people with all sides of the news. Similar to the same excuse of invading Ukraine to protect human rights, it is all rubbish.

Right-wing media such as Top News and Thai Post have already been releasing Russia’s propaganda since the beginning of the invasion while right-wing figures such as Major General Rianthong Nanna and Lieutenant General Nanthadet Meksawat have been praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and supporting the invasion.

For example, Nanthadet’s comments that the reason for the invasion was to prevent a genocide of Russians in Ukraine by “Neo-Nazi” and to protect Soviet architectures which are being destroyed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were published by Top News on Monday.

Are these “facts” from Moscow the same ones that Channel 5 will be broadcasting to their audience? We will have to wait and see but I am sure that it will be along the same lines.

There is no need to repeat the words of a murderer like Putin but if anyone wants to, they can easily access Russian propaganda on the internet.

But the Thai military understands that many conservatives and royalists still watch television and read print media and they are the best audience for Russia’s propaganda because they have already been brainwashed by Thai military propaganda.

What Channel 5 would gain from this is still unknown but they have been cozying up with news agencies from China and Iran before so this latest move shouldn’t be surprising.

There is no doubt that China and Russia have been working together in the disinformation space and this is their latest conquest.

Authoritarian governments around the world are now uniting against the Western media and the Thai military has chosen which side they are on.

Personally, I believe that it is important to look at information from all sides to gain a full understanding of what is going on and avoid being a victim of any propaganda.

However, we all know how deeply polarized Thai society is and we all know that most people who browse Top News, read Thai Post, and watch Channel 5 will never browse anything else.

What Putin’s government is doing right now is to use propaganda to hide atrocities in Ukraine from its people and other repressive populations around the world so that they can continue to act like thugs on the world stage.

If Channel 5 is truly committed to providing all sides of the news then they should also show the daily bombardment of Ukraine’s cities, scores of civilian deaths, and millions of refugees who are running away from the war.

Providing a platform for the invader to legitimize their war is like providing a platform for a military to take over a government….oh wait.

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