To keep you abreast of world affairs, there are several English-language newspapers in Thailand, though relatively mild forms of censorship (and self-censorship) affect all newspapers and the predominantly state-controlled media.
Newspapers and magazines
Of the hundreds of Thai-language newspapers and magazines published every week, the sensationalist daily tabloid Thai Rath attracts the widest readership, with circulation of around a million, while the moderately progressive Matichon is the leading quality daily, with an estimated circulation of 600,000.
Alongside these, two daily English-language papers – the Bangkok Post (w) and the Nation (w) – are capable of adopting a fairly critical attitude to political goings-on and cover major domestic and international stories as well as tourist-related issues. The Nation, however, has recently adopted a split personality (and a more overt anti-red shirt stance) and now covers mostly business news. The Post’s Spectrum supplement, which comes inside the Sunday edition, carries investigative journalism. Both the Post and Nation are sold at most newsstands in the capital as well as in major provincial towns and tourist resorts; the more isolated places receive their few copies one day late. Details of local English-language publications are given in the relevant Guide accounts.
You can also pick up foreign magazines such as Newsweek and Time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the major resorts. English-language bookshops such as Bookazine and some expensive hotels carry air-freighted, or sometimes locally printed and stapled, copies of foreign national newspapers for at least B50 a copy; the latter are also sold in tourist-oriented minimarkets in the big resorts.
There are six government-controlled, terrestrial TV channels in Thailand: channels 3, 5 (owned and operated by the army), 7 and 9 transmit a blend of news, documentaries, soaps, sports, talk and quiz shows, while the more serious-minded PBS (formerly Thaksin Shinawatra’s ITV) and NBT are public-service channels, owned and operated by the government’s public relations department. Cable networks – available in many mid-range and most upmarket hotel rooms – carry channels from all around the world, including CNN from the US, BBC World from the UK and sometimes ABC from Australia, as well as English-language movie channels, MTV and various sports and documentary channels. Both the Bangkok Post and the Nation print the daily TV and cable schedule.
Thailand boasts over five hundred radio stations, mostly music-oriented, ranging from Virgin Radio’s Eazy (105.5 FM), which serves up Western pop, through luk thung on 95FM, to Fat Radio, which plays Thai indie sounds (104.5 FM). Chulalongkorn University Radio (101.5 FM) plays classical music from 9.30pm to midnight every night. Net 107 on 107 FM is one of several stations that include English-language news bulletins.
With a shortwave radio – or by going online – you can pick up the BBC World Service (w), Radio Australia (w), Voice of America (w), Radio Canada (w) and other international stations right across Thailand. Times and wavelengths change regularly, so get hold of a recent schedule just before you travel or consult the websites for frequency and programme guides.
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