Journalists on Journalism

How the Thai People Get News

Thailand is a free and open society. The 1997 Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and media freedom. It also mandates that all airwaves now belong to the public. The Thai people get their news from various means, but TV and radio are the most popular media.

According to the latest statistics, released in 1994 by the Bureau of Statistics, about 79.4 percent and 79 percent of Thai households get news from TV and radio, respectively. The bureau said that 60 percent of those who watch TV and listen to radio are interested in news and information. Thailand has six TV stations, one cable TV operator, and 514 radio stations both in AM and FM bands. According to the bureau, only 41.1 percent of Thai households read newspapers. There are 20 national dailies in Thai, English, and Chinese, and more than 200 magazine titles.

Most of the respondents, about 60 percent, said that they did not read newspapers because they were not interested in them. However, 17.4 percent said that they live in remote areas where newspapers are unavailable. Other reasons included the lack of money and time. Only 30.4 percent of those who read newspapers use their own resources to buy them, while most readers read newspapers in village libraries, government offices, and other workplaces.

In Bangkok and other major cities that can be connected to the Internet, computer users can also get news electronically. So far, only 32 percent of the Thai population has access to cyberspace for news and other services. A few online news services are available through the Internet, but there are very few customers.