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Back to Old Habits : Isolationism or the Self-Preservation of Burma’s Military Regime

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ISBN: 9782956447061 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.498 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Abstract

This book argues that the Burmese military regime has always favoured an isolationist-type policy that finds its grassroots in Ne Win’s autarchic and xenophobic era as well as in Burma’s royal traditions, but without being completely cut off from the outside world. This policy approach is well suited to the Burmese authoritarian state which boasts an important strategic position in the region. In the past decade, the politics of “isolationism without isolation” has been skilfully developed by Burma’s military elite in order to preserve itself from both internal and external threats. Since the Depayin crackdown in May 2003, every step the Burmese junta has taken indicates that it has been consciously defining both its foreign policy and its internal political agenda according to these isolationist tendencies, as the recent fallbacks that followed the “Saffron Revolution” (September 2007) and the Cyclone Nargis (May 2008) illustrate. Not only does the military regime tend to strategically withdraw itself from the regional scene, by choosing only a few but crucial diplomatic and commercial partners like China, India, Singapore, Russia or Thailand, but it also gradually isolates itself from the rest of the Burmese society, by opting for a strategic and nationalist entrenchment which was perfectly highlighted by the purge of the pragmatic Military Intelligence Services (2004), the transfer of the capital to Naypyidaw (2005) and the strict control over the transitional process initiated by its own “Road Map towards a disciplined democracy” and undisrupted by the recent crises.

Keywords

democracy --- freedom --- Civil Society --- army --- junta --- autarchy

State and Media in Thailand During Political Transition : Proceedings of the Symposium organized by the French Embassy, the German Embassy, the National Press Council of Thailand and Irasec at the Thai Journalist Association Building on May 2007, 23rd

Authors: ---
ISBN: 9782956447016 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.354 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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The emergence of public opinion in Thailand through media was a sign of the development of modernity in the Kingdom. Growing influence of the public opinion raised a double question to local authorities: Media tended to spread western concepts, such as “democracy” or “freedom”; which could be integrated to the local traditions; they could also set the bases of a modern state. By law or ownership concentration authorities have regularly attempted to grip on independent media. Nowadays debates on press freedom in Thailand are a new development of this long lasting antagonism. On the initiative of the French and German Embassies in Thailand, Irasec with the National Press Council of Thailand organized on May 23rd, 2007 a seminar on the relationship between State and Media in Thailand at the Thai Journalist Association. This seminar occurred at a very specific time in Thai modern politics. Since the beginning of the political crisis late 2005 and especially after the Coup d'Etat on September 2006, Thailand has committed to a long process of reforms and political reconstruction which is supposed to be followed by the approval of a new constitution by referendum. This should be the 18th Constitution since the founding of the modern State in 1932. However interrogations and worries remain over the whole process. During this political transition the role of media is particularly sensitive. The current situation in Thailand emphasizes concerns for press freedom. State censorship, self-censorship, media ownerships and ethics are of highest interest and worriment, and widely discussed in the frame of the Constitution drafting. Despite a high degree of freedom, notably in print media - a more worrisome situation is looming regarding radios, TV and especially internet, uncertainty and retrograde reforms could further damage the reliability of Thai media.

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