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Phuket Opinion: Making news a social obligation, and a two-way street



Phuket Opinion: Making news a social obligation, and a two-way street | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette would like to thank its readers for their support in our continued growth, not only with the newspaper, which is now on board 10 of the world’s leading airlines, but also on the Web; in the whole new world of handheld ‘devices’; and in broadcasting, where next PGTV goes on UBC/True Visions with two prime time shows.

The centerpiece of everything we do is Phuket. It is our home base, the focal point of our faith and investment, and our reason for being. It drives everything we publish, broadcast or launch onto electronic gadgets. And we are committed to changing nothing with regard to that policy for our newspaper as we know our readers have unlimited free access to the Web for news about Bangkok, Buriram, Belgium, Ohio and Argentina.

With Phuket at the forefront, we would also like to express our gratitude to the many readers who have helped the Gazette by alerting us to newsworthy developments in their communities around the island, either by sending in photos or contacting our editors or reporters with ‘scoops’ that are relevant, important or simply entertaining.

Your contributions are essential to us and your opinions valued, whether we agree with them or not. We like to publish them in our ‘op-ed’ pages and in our Nationwide Edition whenever we have license – legally, ethically and morally – to do so.

The introduction of our online readers’ forum about a year ago has been rewarding (it’s now by far the island’s largest), but it has also brought challenges in terms of managing both the sheer volume of comments and the apparent negativity about Phuket.

With regard to the negativity, we would like to assure our forum readers, (see comments section below), that although we do publish some of the whinge-sector banalities in the interest of ‘freedom of expression’, we know that much of that expression emanates from a handul of disenchanted foreigners likely to be equally disenchanted no matter where they might opt to live in the world.

It cannot be denied, though, that some of the negative comment carries some truth, particularly with regard to public transport, corruption, and the environment. While we have no license to suppress negative sentiment, we do try to manage the volume of it when it becomes boring, trite, or out of balance in Phuket’s daily buffet. So if we’ve already had six “I’m outta here” comments on a given day, our editors might have mercy and suppress the seventh.

We would also like to ask for understanding with our news reporting when you feel it comes up short of your needs or expectations. We frequently receive comments asking, “Why didn’t you cover this?” or “Why didn’t you follow up on that?”

Many of us in the media feel we have somehow, like The Wizard of Oz, been thrust into a position where we are presumed to have much greater power or ‘sway’ than we do. One such presumed power is immunity from prosecution for defamation. We don’t have it.

Another elusive power is ‘reach’. We’re a niche-market newspaper. Complaints against Thais, Thailand or Thai culture would almost surely be more effective in the Thai-language media.

Please keep your contributions coming. Where we can help to make Phuket a better place to live, we will.


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