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Survey: majority support students’ freedom of expression




A recent survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, found that a majority of Thais agree with students across the country giving the anti-government”3 finger salute” and wearing white ribbons, saying that they have the right to free expression. The study was conducted August 25-27 on 1,317 people aged 15 and over, of various levels of education and occupations throughout Thailand.

When asked for their overall opinions about using the salute and ribbons in a symbolic campaign, and with each respondent allowed to give more an answer:

  • 51.2% said the students had the right to free expression;
  • 21.2% said it was inappropriate for them to do this in schools;
  • 16.2% said it was a show of support for democracy and opposition to dictatorship;
  • 15.8% said it was a show of innocence and purity;
  • 13.7% said the students were only following trends in social media;
  • 11.8% said they were expressing their wish for the country’s future;
  • 9.3% said political groups/parties were behind them;
  • 7% said the students wanted to see the fall of the Prayut Chan-o-cha government;
  • 3.8% said this could cause division in schools;
  • 3.1% believed it had a hidden objective;
  • 2% said it was causing family conflicts;
  • 0.9% thought there were foreign agencies behind the campaign.

When asked if they agreed with what the students are doing:

  • 34.8% said they strongly agreed with it
  • 17.2% were in moderate agreement
  • 25.9% were totally opposed to it
  • 15.4% were somewhat opposed 6.67%, had no comment.

As to whether they thought the campaign indicated there are now conflicts between people of different age groups in Thailand:

  • 57.9% said “yes”
  • 29.3% said the students of this era have great self-confidence and are not open to different opinions
  • 28.6% said the students, influenced by social media, have become more aggressive.
  • 24.7% didn’t think the campaign would lead to such conflicts
  • 14.9% thought it was only a show of different opinions
  • 2.4%, had no comment.

Asked whether they believe there are now ideological conflicts in Thai politics:

  • 79.5% said “yes”, ideological differences are very clear in the current political situation
  • 17.5% did not think so.
  • 2.96%, had no comment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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