Thai Journalist Apologizes to Laos for Criticism of Laos-China Railway

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Thai media personality Thanom Onketphon
Thai media personality Thanom Onketphon.


A Thai media personality who made waves recently after criticizing the Laos-China Railway has apologized for his careless comments.

The host of a Thai National Broadcasting Services show, Mr. Thanom Onketphon, has apologized for his comments regarding the Laos-China Railway.

Mr. Thanom stated during his broadcast last week that Lao people would be “unable to purchase tickets to ride the Laos-China Railway” due to their low incomes.

He said that due to modest salaries, Lao people would not be riding the train, while the government of Laos would likely be unable to repay its loans to China.

Passengers boarding the Laos-China Railway at Vientiane Station
Passengers boarding the Laos-China Railway at Vientiane Station (Photo: Teng)

Various state media in Laos responded to criticism by Thailand yesterday, saying that journalists should focus on facts rather than making wild, unethical accusations.

Lao National Radio released a video on Saturday in response to Mr. Thanom, saying that some journalists in Thailand lack ethics and that they should refrain from spreading fake news.

Meanwhile, Lao Phattana Daily responded by saying that snooping on neighboring countries to try to expose their weaknesses serves no purpose but to stoke the flames of animosity at a time when the region must work together in the face of the global pandemic.

Thanom Onketphon personally apologized to the people of Laos during his program yesterday, according to Thai media, saying that he is prepared to listen to other viewpoints on the matter.

“After examining the facts, it seems the Laos-China Railway has been open since 4 December, with both Lao and Chinese people queuing up to board the new train,” he said.

Thai YouTuber Narakorn Thareechit
Thai YouTuber Narakorn Thareechit speaks out against bad journalism.

Popular Thai YouTuber Narakorn Thareechit has also reprimanded Mr. Thanom, saying that anyone interested in reporting news from Laos should visit or study the country first.

“When [journalists] present a story, they must thoroughly research the topic first,” said Narakorn.