The front page of the Bangkok Post 14 May 2015
|Owner(s)||Post Publishing Public Co. Ltd. (SET: POST)|
|Editor||Pichai Chuensuksawadi, editor-in-chief
Veera Prateepchaikul, deputy editor-in-chief
Pattna Chantranontwong, editor
|Founded||August 1, 1946|
|Headquarters||Khlong Toei, Bangkok|
The Bangkok Post is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper published in Bangkok, Thailand. The first issue was sold on 1 August 1946. It had four pages and cost 1 baht, a considerable amount at the time when a baht was a paper note. With a history of 67 years, it is Thailand's oldest newspaper in any language (Thailand's newspaper in its official language, Thai Rath, began publishing in 1962, but the history of the newspaper began in 1950).
In a country where media censorship is common, the Bangkok Post portrays itself as being comparatively free. There are instances where the newspaper has been accused of self-censorship to avoid controversy or conflict with powerful individuals, including adherence to the country's strict lèse-majesté law, which prohibits open criticism of members of the Thai Royal Family. Yet another example was the newspaper's failure during the Vietnam War to report on bombing forays made from US Air Force bases in Thailand over military targets in North Vietnam and Cambodia, none of which received coverage in the local press. The newspaper also is known for providing critical coverage and commentary on controversial topics, such as the impact of dam construction on farmers corruption in the international rice trade, extrajudicial killings as part of the 'war on drugs' and political controversies surrounding the Thaksin family.
The Bangkok Post was at one time well known among expatriates for Bernard Trink's weekly Nite Owl column which covered the nightlife of Bangkok. Trink's column was published from 1966 (originally in the Bangkok World) until 2004, when it was discontinued. The newspaper has a letters page where expatriate and Thai regulars exchange opinions on local and international concerns. According to the Post, more than half of its total readership are Thai nationals.
The Bangkok Post was founded by Alexander MacDonald, a former OSS officer, and his Thai associate Prasit Lulitanond. Thailand at the time was the only Southeast Asian country to have a Soviet Embassy. The American embassy felt it needed an independent but generally pro-American newspaper to counter Soviet views. Some claim[who?] the financing came directly from the US State Department or possibly even the OSS itself, although there is no proof of this.
Nevertheless, under MacDonald's stewardship, the Bangkok Post was reasonably independent and employed many young newsmen, including Peter Arnett and T. D. Allman, who later became known internationally. Alex MacDonald left Thailand after a military coup in the early 1950s, and the newspaper was later led by Roy, Lord Thomson. The paper has since changed hands. Major shareholders in Post Publishing include the Chirathivat family (owners of Central Group), the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong and GMM Grammy Pcl, Thailand's biggest media and entertainment company.
The Bangkok Post employs (April 2015) 179 journalists, including reporters, rewriters, editors, sub-editors, photographers, and designers. Twenty-nine foreign nationals work as sub-editors and print and digital news editors. Sunday editor, Paul Ruffini, is an Australian national. All Post staff reporters are Thai nationals, as fluency in Thai required. Foreign staff write for the newspaper's news, op-ed, sports, business, and features sections.
- Main body: Local, regional and world news, opinion and analysis pages, and sports news.
- Business: Local, regional and world business and financial news and stock-market tables.
- Life: A features section including human-interest stories, travel, motoring, technology, entertainment news, a society page, advice columns, comics, puzzles, local television listings and film advertisements.
- Sunday Spectrum: A weekly news analysis and investigative journalism section.
- Learning: An online English-language education section.
- Guru: An entertainment magazine, inserted on Fridays and aimed at young adult readers.
- Classified: A classified advertisement section.
- Brunch: A Sunday supplement.
- Muse: A women oriented supplement on Saturdays which contains fashion news, make-up tips, stories of successful women, family and travel tips.
- MyLife: A supplement which gives advice on how to improve your life in every aspect along with comic strips, every Thursday.
English language education site
A special Learning section of the Bangkok Post website helps Thais learn to read English by using the daily newspaper. Vocabulary, reading questions, and web resources are provided for a selection of articles every day. Articles are taken from the general news, tourism, entertainment, and business sections of the newspaper. The targeted audience includes individuals studying English and teachers using articles in the classroom.
A rival English language newspaper, the evening Bangkok World, was started in the 1960s. It was later bought by the Bangkok Post in 1971. Due to declining sales, it was closed in the mid-1980s.
Nowadays, the main competition comes from The Nation, a Thai-owned and managed newspaper. The Nation includes more campaigning journalism and is more royalist than the Bangkok Post. It also has ties to the governing Democrat Party and reports more on the South Thailand insurgency. By contrast the Bangkok Post employs several former student activists, the so-called "October people", and portrays news from an urban, middle-class point of view, styling itself as a "family newspaper."
During the tenure of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the Post largely toed the government line—at one point bowing to government pressure by firing a reporter who had exposed cracks in the runway of the prestige project Suvarnabhumi Airport along with the news editor —while the Nation actively campaigned for Thaksin to resign. This should not be taken as all-out support for Thaksin but has its roots in the fact that the premier drew a number of October people into his government and in concerns for advertising clients.
In the two years since the Thaksin-supported Pheu Thai government was returned to power in an election landslide in July 2011, the Bangkok Post has generally reflected an anti-Thaksin and anti-government position largely aligned with the Democratic Party and its allied right wing royalist elements who are seen as having sponsored or supported the coup of 2006, as well as "judicial coups" in 2008 which resulted in installing Democrat Abhisit Vejjajiva as prime minister.
- Media of Thailand
- Edith Clampton, a controversial and regular contributor to the "Post Bag" letters to the editor page
- Chuensuksawadi, Pichai (2015-04-17). "Bangkok Post rebuts CJR falsehoods". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 18 Apr 2015.