Welcome to the new project from Prachatai- Prachatai English. The project is aimed at building a community based on deliberative communication in the times of political tensions in Thailand.
Both the abuse of constitutional power during the Thaksin regime and the coup by the Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy (later the Council for Democratic Reform and then the Council for National Security) have threaten the foundation of democratic society; i.e. the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is the fundamental human right that will guarantee the rights of the citizen to obtain information and express their concern to the government to hold the government accountable for public demand.
Having been living in the Thaksin regime and the Post-Coup regime, we have seen various forms of limitation the existing media have faced. On the one hand, the media is facing intimidation and martial law as a direct threat. On the other hand with various organizational limitations of the media; such as financial needs and the large flow of information, there is a self-censorship challenge that prevents us for fully being an informed citizen. Furthermore, various small scale media, especially the internet based, have been hacked and blocked by the government and the service providers under the martial law.
On the other hand, on various occasion we have witnessed that the governments were more concerned about the international world rather than people in its own country. Governments have spent certain amount of time to "inform" and "ensure" the international world, mainly the diplomatic community, foreign news agency, and foreign direct investors, that political transition in Thailand is a very smooth process and liberal economic policy must continue.
We are proposing that to be a fully informed citizen to face the challenge of political reform we cannot sit and wait for the information produced by the media that threats us like a consumer, nor the new constitutional drafted by those who were selected by the coup junta. To be a fully informed citizen we must transform ourselves from being a passive consumer of information provided by existing local or foreign media. We must be active citizen who makes news by ourselves and reach out international audiences with alternative views.
Equipped with a new state of the arts information technology, Prachatai English is a project to build up a deliberative community operated in a volunteer principle. We will compile and translate various information related to political transition in Thailand produced by local media into English. The main source will be from Prachatai.com and our alliance websites. We also welcome more suggestions for information from other sources. Moreover, with the translated information we hope to learn more from our webboard and opinion section that will reach out more audience and thus more discussion.
To achieve our goal, we need a lot of volunteer to help us translate news, scoop, and interviews and proof-read each piece before it is ready to be posted in the Prachataien section of Prachatai.com. For the detailed information of how to join us building a new community, please visit our "translation hut" section for more detail.
The "weekly review" section will provide an overview of news development in Thailand which will be updated on a weekly basis.
Plus, the future Frontline section will have an original commentary from noted scholars around the world with regards to political transition in Thailand.
We believe that strong democracy must be promoted not by asking from those who are in power. We must make democracy strong by actively and collectively doing it by our own hand. Making our own news and sharing our perspectives are crucial way to empower ourselves and to hold the political reform process accountable.
Let the news speak!