Brainstorming Community Media in Thailand (PHOTOS)
So what am I doing in Thailand, besides trying to avoid the REALLY spicy Thai food?
I’m here for the next five days advising that country’s version of the Federal Communications Commission (it’s called the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) to figure out the ins and outs of setting up Community Media across Thailand. Specifically, I’m presenting the U.S. case study on how we do it in the good ol’ US of A, alongside folks from Australia, Indonesia and Japan sharing how it’s done in their countries.
As I write this at 6 p.m. local time (6 a.m. back in Montgomery County), we’ve wrapped up our first day of conversations with the Thailand folks, meeting with a number of individuals who will have key roles in establishing community media in this country. We had some great exchanges about media content, financial support, governing structures, technology and video production. These are ideas that I don’t often get to just sit down and brainstorm for hours on end, especially with those who have little familiarity with public access. And mind you, this is in a country where if you say something degrading about the Royal Family, you’ll find yourself thrown in jail. The concept of free speech just isn’t part of Thailand culture, so the protections we have in the U.S. and what we can put on our public access channels don’t apply.
But we can still learn a lot from each other.
I’m looking forward to the next few days and being a part of the birth of community media in Thailand. And I hope to avoid heart burn along the way.