Readers need not be involved in petty squabbles
Just when you thought that the personal rivalry between the Phuket Gazette and Phuket Wan had run its course in terms of disturbing readers, up it comes once again, slap bang in a story. This has to stop. Would any self-respecting wire, newspaper, magazine or agency publish something like this from its journalists?
A local blog had readers of the ThaiVisa.com forum in a furore following publication of a report in which it was suggested that one of the deceased women had been drinking heavily in the hours leading up to her death, an assertion which the woman’s fiance vehemently knocks back. The blogger has since deleted the report from his Web.
Meanwhile, the popular ThaiVisa site was abuzz with speculation as to the true cause, or causes, of the serial tragedies on Phi Phi. Poisoned drinks, faulty air conditioning, carbon monoxide and chemicals from a water treatment plant have all been mentioned as possible causes. [NOTE: Are we now using speculation on forums as fodder for a story? Is this news?]
For details of the “shoot now/aim later” report filed earlier today on the blog, and to keep abreast of developments as they unfold on Phi Phi Island, Gazette readers may wish to scan through the ThaiVisa postings here. [NOTE: So now we are supposed to read a forum to get the latest news from the island?] Or visit the Phuket Gazette/ThaiVisa Phuket Forum for other developments and news related to the Andaman region. [NOTE: Don’t read the Gazette! Head straight to the forums!]
By now we know that when the Gazette refers to a local blog, it is usually referring to Phuket Wan. The local blog moniker has stuck, despite Phuket Wan dominating in search results for “Phuket” on Google News. However, in this case, could the Gazette be referring to the Andaman Times? We really can’t be sure because the Gazette refuses to name the source.
Once again, readers of the Gazette are pulled into the bitter battle between the Gazette and Phuket Wan. This isn’t journalism, folks. If we filed this kind of story with our editors we’d be laughed at.
It isn’t just the sloppy writing and the poor reporting in the Gazette’s story, it’s the fact that they have devoted three paragraphs to knocking another publication’s report while promoting an Internet forum that the Gazette itself sponsors.
We’re not saying Phuket Wan got it right with their report – that’s not the issue here. The Gazette continued with its pettiness today:
Contrary to an initial local blog entry speculating that cyanide poisoning may have been the cause of the deaths, Krabi police told a Gazette reporter who went to Phi Phi Island today that no evidence has been found to indicate poisoning in any of the three victims and that the initial blog report was false. That report was the result of a misunderstanding by the blogger, police said, adding that the blogger responsible had since returned to the police station to apologize for the mistake.
When is this going to stop? The credibility of Phuket’s media is in jeopardy now. It’s ugly to see, especially when the Gazette says that it’s OK to be a blogger if you are Bill Barnett, but not for anybody else.