Note: The older content written as part of this blog was relevant at the time but may have since changed. Please don't hesitate to contact me for clarification.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


The current (February 20 - 26) edition of The Economist is on sale in Thailand.
Why is this a shock?
First, one of the straplines on the cover says: "Junta to Thais: smile or else",
Second, the story it refers to is not too complimentary of the current Prime Minister and his plans, and it also makes significant references to institutions that would previously have seen the publisher withhold distribution from the Kingdom.
Could this be a sign that the publisher is getting braver, or is it succumbing to pressure from a fair number of Thailand-based advertisers who want their ad seen here, or indeed others who want to be seen in Thailand? Could it also be that rules regarding what can be printed and accepted in Thailand are being relaxed? My view is the latter is unlikely.
So essentially this is a shock, but a welcome one at that.


Sunday, February 21, 2016


I truly think the answer is "no".
Although the International edition of the New York Times, and the global weekly expat-focused edition of The Telegraph (pictured - image from Twitter from @laurepitel) have disappeared from the bookhelves here, you have to remember that English is a niche language in Thailand.
In the U.K. the iconic daily The Independent will cease printing and move entirely online at the end of March (that's another story) at the same time as the Daily Mirror has revealed plans to start producing a cheap (20p) daily to capture market share.
Print WILL survive. I have been saying that for more than 10 years, when digital-only publications first started to appear in Thailand. The truth is that, alone and without the support from print, digital editions cannot acquire the revenue to produce quality, unique and captivating journalism. That costs money that simply isn't available online - yet.
Everyone seems to have tried to go digital -only - and have ultimately failed.


Saturday, February 20, 2016


Whether this is a case of copyright, or just a page designer lacking imagination, I will leave to you to answer.
Most of you will recognise the masthead of global business magazine Fortune on top of a special 'fortune' edition of Thai language women's lifestyle magazine Praew.
There is an awful similarity, in my opinion, but why does the Thai language title even need to use an English language masthead?
Several Thai magazines have identical names as those from around the world, and I know of at least two occasions where a Thai publisher was ordered to desist from using the global name. At least one of them is still going - with a new name of course.


Friday, February 19, 2016


The only Thailand newspaper to receive an independent circulation audit - The Bangkok Post - will no longer have one.
A statement on the Audit Bureau of Circulation website said the publication, where sales have been falling constantly for many years, said the publication is no longer registered with the organisation.
This means that, in effect, no one knows how many copies are sold of any publication in Thailand.
For media buyers this will add to their nightmare of knowing how many copies their print budget will reach, and for publishers it will mean they can literally get away with saying they sell whatever they want.
I have written many times in the past about the value of media auditing. I am very pro-transparency when it comes to printing numbers - knowing for a fact that one Thai magazine claims to sell 50,000 copies, only prints 2,000 and will likely sell less than half of that. Fraud, yes. The advertisers are being sold a lie.
With digital it's harder to lie. An advertiser can monitor the traffic it gets from any source and make almost instant decisions whether they get value for their money.
As for The Bangkok Post - who knows why they have opted to stop auditing their circulation?
I could make an educated guess ....



Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued new guidelines for issuing Media (M) visas to journalists, which come into effect on March 21, 2016. 
These guidelines will mean that some journalists who have received M visas in the past may not be issued them in future, and will be asked to apply for different visas. 
The board of the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand board was in discussion with the MFA over these new guidelines, and offered a number of mitigating suggestions. 
Some of these have been incorporated in the guidelines.
To read the full guidelines and the reply from the FCCT click here.
It's true to say that many journalists in Thailand do not have the M (media) visa, and instead opt for the B (Business) visa with a job title such as Head of Content, or the like. 
Perhaps this is the start of a crackdown of just who is able to write in English about what's happening in Thailand?



Okay - not quite five years but the July 2011 edition, and other editions, of Traversing The Orient magazine is currently on sale at Kinokuniya in Siam Paragon, Bangkok for just 20 baht.
The magazine is part of the bookshops sale, and although the magazine is no longer being printed (which begs the question where will the money go from anyone who buys this copy) this magazine does have an interesting back story.
Originally named Thailand Time Out (TTO) the Bangkok Bugle understands that it was forced to drop the Time Out part of its title following a legal dispute - despite the fact that Thailand does not (yet) have a licensed Time Out edition of its own.
Quite why anyone, apart from magazine junkies like me, would want to buy a magazine of this age is beyond me - even at just 20 baht.
What's also quite interesting is a quick glance through the pages revealed a number of property projects that never made it out of the ground.



Once again Thursday's front pages of both of Thailand's English language daily newspapers - The Nation and the Bangkok Post - looked remarkably similar, both in their choice of main images and choice of top stories.
Surely there is more happening in Thailand that deserves front page coverage?
One point of interest is that the image editor at The Nation appears to have been more active in Photoshop - it's the same AFP image but look at the darker sky in their version of the picture, Does it add anything? Does it make it a better picture?
For me, the answer has to be "no" to both of those points but everyone will have their own answer.


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