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Raising bar past low-tide mark – Phuket Business

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Raising bar past low-tide mark – Phuket Business | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a long-standing and ill-fated tradition of stopping at the low-tide mark. For mountain resorts in the French Alps, which do not rely on what is beneath the ocean surface to draw guests, such an oversight is understandable. However, the trend of CSR projects not safeguarding heavily threatened marine systems, such as the coral reefs surrounding Phuket and Phi Phi, will lead to the downfall of these areas, said Zeavola General Manager Florian Hallermann.

“If the corals are gone, the island will be eroded and in the end we will be gone. So my plan is actually for self preservation, because I love this island and I love to work here,” Mr Hallermann said.

“By looking after the coral and educating people on how important the corals are, I do hope we can make a difference, and basically keep on living here and being successful.”

CSR has evolved significantly since the term was coined in 1953 by Howard Bown in Social Responsibility as Businessmen. The evolution has not been a smooth one, as many critics on both sides of the fence see CSR as either harmful divergence of a business’s resources from its essential role in the economy, or as a preemptive attempt of corporations to avoid stricter regulations enforced by government watchdogs.

Nonetheless, the widely cited article published in 2000 in Strategic Management Journal by McWilliams and Siegel demonstrates that CSR, when properly modeled, has a neutral impact on financial outcomes – costing corporations little to nothing, but offering long-term benefits to its stakeholders.

For Mr Hallermann, a primary stakeholder on Phi Phi Island is the Sea Gypsy population, who have been living among the islands off the Thai Andaman coast for centuries.

“I see the Sea gypsies using the coral reefs as a source for their protein and their food. The more I got involved with coral reefs, the more I understood about how important they are for the ecosystem of Phi Phi Island,” Mr Hallermann said.

In an effort of both self preservation and the preservation of essential stakeholders, Zeavola launched its project “Coral Freedom” last month.

The project plan for 2013 relies heavily on supporting the efforts of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) and the work of Andrew Hewett from the Adventure Club.

The DMCR and Andrew Hewett established coral nurseries in the waters off Phi Phi and an artificial reef “Viking Cave” in 2006. Despite drastic setbacks caused by coral bleaching in 2010, they have continued to foster the conservation of corals in the area.

“I know how hard the PMBC and other individuals, such as Andrew from Adventure Club, have been working over the last seven years. I think if we can get more individuals together, we can create a dynamic where more hotels will get involved,” said Mr Hallermann.

Zeavola, home to a PADI Green Star dive center, will join up with those currently working on coral conservation projects and help maintain the mid-water coral nurseries, as well as the seabed nurseries, Zeavola’s Activities Manager Cian O’Fearghail explained.

In addition to the hands on efforts in the project, Zeavola pledged to focus on educating staff, guests and the local community about sustainable marine practices.

“The seminar [we have put together] will be given to all our staff members in Thai and it will be given to all my long-tail captains because we actively live from the coral reef and we are actively out their with our guests,” Mr Hallermann said. “Additionally, we will be going to local elementary schools to teach the kids.”

“I would be happy to supply the seminar to other hotels if anyone else is interested. But we first need to clean our house, before enticing other people to follow us,” he said.

The last major goal outlined for 2013 was the establishment of mooring buoys for visiting yachts in Laem Thong.

“The earth does not care about us, the only things who care about us are ourselves, and usually in the terms of what is in our bank accounts. We don’t see below the low tide mark – I don’t know if we will make much of an impact, but for the little area in which we live and are successful, I want to give something back. I want to do something about it,” Mr Hallermann said.

Keep checking the Gazette’s business pages for the latest local and national business news updates affecting Phuket and Thailand. Alternatively, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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