PHUKET: The Thai Public Relations Department (PRD) called media from the southern provinces to a seminar in Krabi last week in an effort to strategize ways to keep pace with international media and help foreigners understand the goings-on in Thailand.
“We held the meeting so we could exchange thoughts and make sure local media and public relations professionals are on the same page,” said PRD Deputy Director-General Prawin Pattanapong at the seminar at Golden Beach Resort.
Mr Prawin noted the need for transparent, timely reporting, especially in regards to internationally reported issues in Thailand.
“We cannot deny that the world is connected now. A lot of tourists and expats are coming to Thailand. We must be able to project the country well and help the world understand what exactly is going on here,” he said.
“This includes being transparent about what we are doing to combat human trafficking. The world is watching us, and our political situation.”
Mr Prawin explained that the government and media alike are aware of the need for clear, accurate news.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with international media outlets for a training exchange. This way, we can easily exchange news and information about Thailand.
“We must make sure that our domestic media is keeping up with international media. We have to pay attention to how far they go and how well they are performing so that we can do the same,” he added.
Mr Prawin also noted the need for Thai media to integrate more social media into their reports in order to connect with more readers.
Another hot topic at the seminar was to strike more of a balance between positive and negative news.
“I cannot deny that sometimes negative news is a lot more interesting than positive news. However, the media must consider the impact that negative news can have on our country’s image,” said Krabi Governor Songphol Sawasdhram.
“Thailand is not free from criminals. Here in Krabi, tourists are sometimes ripped off. We must report these instances, but we can also report what is being done to prevent such crimes or what was done to help a victim.
“Publishing our good works would promote a more positive image of the country. The media is integral in making a good impression on our guests.”
Overall, Mr Prawin was pleased with the seminar, saying that it was impressive and that a lot of information was shared and learned.
“Our job is very important for the country’s image. We must be good hosts and make a positive impression on those who choose to visit.”
— Chutharat Plerin
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