Senior columnists at Matichon sacked for their ‘red’ stance

Manager reported on Apr 28 that Matichon Weekly’s editor Sathien Junthimathorn had been sacked, following the dismissal of Matichon Daily’s editor Chulalak Phukert a week earlier, for having been mouthpieces for the Thaksin regime, and blindly attacking the Abhisit government.

Matichon founder and CEO Kanchai Boonpan ordered the dismissal of Sathien last week, because the editor had been criticized for being biased and serving the Thaksin camp.  Kanchai had been monitoring Sathien’s work for some time and found that the allegations were true.

Kanchai reportedly had summoned Sathien for talks to change his attitude and line of writing, but Sathien persisted.  Sathien still used his space in Matichon’s newspapers to support the red shirts, and attack the government for its incompetence in, for example, handling economic problems, which was unfair because the government had been in office for only 3 months.  In contrast, he excessively lauded Thaksin.

About a week earlier, Kanchai had dismissed Matichon Daily’s editor Chulalak Phukert because she obviously supported the red shirts, even joining the red shirts’ rallies in person.

Manager reported that Sathien and Chulalak had been close and both of them went to the jungle to join the Communist Party after the Oct 6, 1976 massacre.  They also had connections with Thaksin’s close associates: Chaturon Chaisang, politically banned former Thai Rak Thai executive, and Kriengkamol Laohapairoj.  Kriengkamol was said by the Manager to be a source for Sathien and Chulalak writing against Thaksin’s foes.

PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul spoke about Sathien at a PAD rally on Nov 18, 2008, saying that Sathien had been a Thaksin defender and propagandist.  He cited as evidence an article in Matichon Weekly of June 15, 2007, that was about the collapse of the monarchy in Nepal, and another on June 1, 2006, which refuted the Finland Plot which had been alleged by the PAD.

‘Sathien is an old leftist with sour grapes, and still believes in socialism, in social equality, while Thaksin has bought an 800 million baht house in Dubai, and the grassroots receive 200 baht each from Thaksin,’ said Sondhi.

Sathien wrote under many pen names to make it seem there were many people, but with the same opinion, such as Duangta Wannasilp in Matichon Weekly that attacked the so-called extra-constitutional charismatic figure(s) who undermined Thaksin.  And the Weekly also had an issue headlined ‘Pisad Thaksin (Demon Thaksin)’, likening Thaksin to the protagonist in a classic Thai novel ‘Pisad (Demon)’, which implied Thaksin would always be a demon to haunt the elite, said Sondhi.

Sathien is a cousin of legendary singer/songwriter Surachai Junthimathorn, or Nga Caravan, who has supported the PAD.  He is a veteran journalist, and was one of the 100 signatories calling for a constitution before the Oct 14, 1973.  He fled to join the communist party after Oct 6, 1976.  In the jungle, he worked on mobilizing the masses with Jaran Dittha-apichai, one of the red-shirt leaders, and Chaturon Chaisang.

After returning to Bangkok, he co-founded Matichon, and has been editor and columnist in its publications.

source : http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/1186 

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