Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Source: A24 subscribers
Restrictions: A24 clients
Thai youth continued to spark protests, using social media and platforms to voice out their criticisms against the government as part of their political awareness.
Young Thais are increasingly using the internet and social media to share ideas and opinions as the country’s government, came to power in a 2014 coup, edges towards holding the first elections in nine years.
They accused the government of ruining the economy and mismanaging the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic,
However, young Thai people calling for reform are determined to make up their own minds about the powers in their country.
Young online citizen reporters called for the freedom of expression and press when they want to share news about sensitive topics.
An Assistant Professor said Thai youth are seeking for three main topics: change, hope and future, which is the most important one. He said Twitter was the platform of choice for critics of the current regime to voice out their dissent.
Comparing Chinese youth with Thai youth on freedom of expression, he said the Chinese youth might not have such a freedom buy they are provided with better economic opportunities although they have an authoritarian government as he said.
• Vox pop with a young Thai demonstrator (Bangkok student, female, Thai):
“We’ve come here today to fight for our rights and freedoms. I will live in this country for a long time, as will all these other people. In a democracy you are free to agree or disagree, and I disagree with the status quo and the establishment.”
• ( Soundbite ) a young online citizen reporter (Nattapong Malee, citizen reporter, male, Thai):
“We need full democracy. I want to focus on freedom of expression and freedom of the press since I am a citizen journalist for Ratsadon News (people’s news). The (mainstream) media has a ceiling when reporting sensitive topics. We want to communicate news and information that matches the ceiling raised by the pro-democracy demonstrators.
• ( Soundbite ) Assist. Prof. Dr. Pitch Pongsawat, Political Science scholar, Chulalongkorn University, (male, Thai):
“There are three words describing what the Thai youth want: First is ‘change’. Second is ‘hope’. Third is ‘future’. But the most important one of all is the future…simply because they can’t see their future. They feel that the world is ever changing, just not here in their country and their voices are not heard.”
“Facebook here in Thailand has to comply with the law so the kids opt to use Twitter more. To them, Twitter is a tool for freedom of expression. The TikTok revolution by influencers is also a very important tool for the youth movement.”
“The Thai state only controls without giving any benefits to its citizens, whereas the Chinese comply in a way because they’re provided for by their government, albeit an authoritarian one.
So in a sense China’s youth may not have political freedom, but they have better economic opportunities that come with internet infrastructure (platforms like Baidu) provided by their government.”