Social-media users dig for facts, report on political events
February 22, 2014 00:00
By Asina Pornwasin
There is so much happening in Thailand nowadays, especially in terms of controversially political incidents, that social-media users are engrossed in investigating and discussing them.
Maybe many of them are even taking over as investigative journalists, digging through information related to a particular incident to uncover the true facts.
A case in point is this week’s operation by the caretaker government’s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order to reclaim protest areas at Phan Fa Lilat Bridge in Bangkok.
Earlier, the CMPO launched “Operation Valentine” to reclaim areas occupied by protesters.
Images of both operations appeared on social media in minute-by-minute detail, which were closely watched by millions.
Social media also became a platform to debate what had happened as users began hunting for information and photos to support their assumptions.
As information consumers, people should follow suit and check information before they believe it.
Social media provide real-time news reports from everywhere – especially incidents related to political issues.
For example, the image of people withdrawing their money from the Government Savings Bank was huge on social-media sites. Many people displayed their bankbooks once the money had been withdrawn from their accounts.
The coverage not only provided updates but it also went viral and led to copycats.
While the operation to reclaim areas of Phan Fa Lilat Bridge on Tuesday was extensively covered on social media as it happened, some mainstream media, especially free-to-air television stations, did not report on the incident or cover it as breaking news.
Thais living overseas and foreigners are also following the political unrest, especially the CMPO’s operations, closely via social media.
Even well-known news providers like CNN, the British Broadcasting Corp, and other international media organisations are doing so.
No one can deny that social media can make controversial political activities more transparent as people find the truth themselves.