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:

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  • 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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