The ban of a television commercial entitled "Kor Thod... Pra Thet Thai" (Apologise...Thailand) from free television has caused a flood of criticism in social media and web-boards. But there was still no explanation from the television station joint censorship committee which ordered the ban.
The advertisement was created by the "Positive Network", a new initiative by many major communication groups in Thailand. The network consists of people from advertising, public relations, media agencies, and cable and TV associations.
According to Kom Chad Luek newspaper, the committee ordered the ban because they thought the message and pictures used in the ad were too extreme and risked defamation. The paper quoted Bhanu Inkawat, one of the ad's creators and founder of the network as saying the panel told him they were concerned about the way the story was told and the order of the pictures.
"We understand the committee and are reviewing it to try to make it pass the censor," Bhanu said.
The creator tells the story by using pictures and script to depict what happened to the country and questions society. The music "Auld Lang Syne" was used in the background.
Here is a translation of the script:
"Did we do anything wrong? Did we handle anything too harshly? Did we listen to only one side of the story? Did we perform our duties? Did we really think of people? Were we corrupt? Did we take too much? Did the media make people better informed? Did our society deteriorate? Did we love money more than the rightness? And did we only wait for help? If there was anyone to blame, it would be all of us. Apologise… Thailand. And if there was anyone who can fix the problems, it would be all Thais. Keep the loss in mind and turn it into our force."
The script is straightforward, though a bit satirical. Good and stunning pictures chosen to depict the story - though some may have been too harsh and sarcastic. The pictures showed the burning of the Central World building and soldiers pointing guns at protesters - as it really happened.
Feeling of hope
When I first watched the advertisement on Youtube I really felt sad and depressed for what I saw in the video. But the message "Keep the loss in mind and turn it into our force" at the end made me feel stronger and hopeful - though the pictures depicted in the last message were quite soft and normal. They wanted to tell people that despite the darkness, there is always some light.
I thought the strong signal in the advertisement was that the loss to the country was caused by us all, and we have to take responsibility at any cost. The creator didn't point blame at anyone or any group, but tried to remind Thais of the loss and warned people they should not let it happen again.
This advertisement is one of the best - and Thais should not miss it. It has come at the right time and the right place, when people feel helpless about what has happened over the last few years. Thais should watch it and think creatively about what we should do next to help restore the country - instead of watching it to find wrongdoers.
The censorship committee should review the ban sooner rather than later. Even the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) put the advertisement on its website. Stopping this being shown on free television means nothing as nowadays people can watch it via the Internet and social media.
Are we too sensitive - or do we lack courage to hear and see the truth?