ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Communication Rights as Human Rights for instance in Thailand*

Abstract

The right to communication as a fundamental human right clearly indicates that another communication model necessitates participatory democratization and thus a redistribution of power on all levels. The point of departure is not an elitist position, but development from the bottom-up. For instance, the UNESCO-sponsored MacBride Report suggests that the right to communicate “promises to advance the democratization of communication on all levels – international, national, local, individual” (MacBride, 1980, p. 171). Fundamental here is the other vision of the role of authorities in processes of social change. Unlike the confidence in and respect for the role of the state, which is characteristic of traditional development perspectives, more recent perspectives advocate a rather reserved attitude toward authorities. Policies therefore should be built on more selective participation strategies of dissociation and association. The Kingdom of Thailand went through a period of political turmoil recently. So-called democratic rule had once again been replaced by military rule. We do not intend to analyze the most recent military coup of September 2006 and its immediate aftermath, which resulted in democratic elections in December and a return to democratic rule since. In this paper we focus on the period 1997-2006 in Thailand. Under so-called democratic rule and a liberal constitution, the right to communication as a fundamental right was guaranteed in principle. However, in practice it was a different story for the Thai media and the public at large.

Jan Servaes, Patchanee Malikhao, Thaniya Pinprayong

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