BBC Reaches Out In Response To Article on Thai King’s Funeral

The Royal Crematorium of HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. Image by Xiengyod~commonswiki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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The response to my recent article on this site, “A king’s funeral and a chance to show the world the best of Thai culture,” was overwhelming. Thanks to all the thousands Thai people who took the time to express their gratitude.

One response in particular was from a producer from the BBC, who questioned my commentary, asking me to produce evidence that the BBC criticized the cost of the funeral. I had not taken the time to respond to her immediately, and she sent a follow-up Tweet the following day saying, “I see that you have not responded & your article remains online,” arrogantly implying that I should take the article down simply because somebody from the BBC expressed some mild displeasure with it. The BBC should know better than to suggest such a thing.

Following is my response to the BBC.

The BBC’s tone of course is subtle, but the bias is evident. BBC reporters are fine writers, and they know how to manipulate words and headlines to impart their bias without overtly stating opinion.

In Jonathan Head’s interview with The Hon. Narisa Chakrabonse, great-granddaughter of King Chulalongkorn, the headline itself reads, “Thai king funeral: Relative on country’s ‘genuine love’”, putting the words “genuine love” in quotations. As any journalist will understand, putting something in quote marks can have two different meanings – it can be meant simply to indicate that those words were a direct quote, or, it can indicate a type of sarcasm, as if to say the words are untrue. This headline would seem to be the latter. Why other reason would there be to put the term “genuine love” in quote marks? A better headline from an unbiased reporter would have read, “Thai king funeral: Relative on country’s genuine love,” without the added quote marks around that phrase. The quote marks add no value except to imply doubt as to the veracity of that love. In the interview itself, reporter Jonathan Head asks leading questions meant to challenge the love Thai people had for the late King.

Also in the report, the BBC refers to Khun Narisa simply by her name, without her noble title of “Mom Rajawongse” (the Thai equivalent of “The Honorable”). Did the BBC ever refer for example, in its reportage of Lady Di and Prince Charles’ wedding, to the couple as “Di and Chuck?” Hardly. The absence of the title was another example of subtle bias and disrespect.

The BBC also engages in clickbait headlining, often referring in the headlines to the “lavish” ceremony, mentioning the $90 million cost in both the headline and lede. This also is a way of subtlely influencing the reader to focus on the cost, and to imply that the ceremony was excessive. As I mentioned in my original article, the ceremony itself was more than a funeral, it was a celebration of everything Thai. The cost was secondary to the real story, yet the cost itself was the focus of the headline. The cost is of course, part of the story, and there’s nothing wrong from a journalistic point of view with mentioning it. But the cost is not the main story, and it does not belong in the lede.

For comparison purposes, let’s look at BBC headlines of another “lavish” Royal event, the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. In the feature, “In pictures: Millennium artists at the Jubilee pageant,” BBC celebrates in a positive way, the many artists who celebrated the Jubilee with creative interpretation – much the same way as many Thai artists devoted time and effort to pay tribute to King Bhumibol. The headline is factual and straightforward. In the article, “Are the French secretly in love with Britain’s royals?” the headline writer did not put the word “love” in separate quotes. The article itself spoke of the desire for pomp and pageantry, and how the British Royal family provides reassurance in a changing world – again, a similar sentiment to what I wrote in my original article. No subtle implications against the British royalty can be seen. Headlines and reportage are straightforward. This is not the case with the BBC’s reportage of King Bhumibol’s funeral, even though King Bhumibol – like Queen Elizabeth – provided reassurance and comfort to the Thai people in a changing world.

In another contrasting example, in the BBC article, “Diamond Jubilee: Pomp and celebrations defy the rain,” the BBC reporter praised the celebration, and took time to interview participants who said wonderful things about the event and about HM Queen Elizabeth. Quotes on the Queen’s graciousness, and about how she cares for her people, were included. No sarcasm or misleading headlines were part of this article. In regards to HM King Bhumibol’s funeral however, the BBC made sure to reach out to Andrew Marshall, a frequent critic of the Thai royal family and government, who lambasted everything about it.

The real story here isn’t the cost of the ceremony. It is the deep love and respect Thai people had for their late King, and the wonderful display of Thai culture and art that marked the event. My original report was accurate and heartfelt, and it will stand as is.

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65 Comments on "BBC Reaches Out In Response To Article on Thai King’s Funeral"

  1. A thousand thank you is not enough for your article. ❤❤❤

  2. Benya Nandakwang | November 3, 2017 at 3:02 pm |

    BBC (Thai) is a disgrace to the otherwise respectable organization. It’s a known fact.

  3. Me too want to say that
    “A thousand thank you is not enough for your article. “❤❤❤

  4. Pete Burana | November 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm |

    Thanks for a great response to the inciting BBC

    • Dhiraporn Chaiwatcharaporn | November 13, 2017 at 12:22 am |

      The proven records of King Bhumipol’s numerous contributions and devotions all his life for Thai people speak for themselves why he is deeply loved by all Thais.

  5. Thank you

  6. BBC should be ashamed although they are unable because their unshamful nature.
    BBC is a journalistic disgrace and a prime example of how western media manipulate the people to suit their political agendas.

  7. Thank you so much Khun Dan.

  8. Hope it is clear enough now. Thanks to Mr.Blacharski for spending time “respond” to the producer of the “BBC”.

  9. Will BBC ever stopped?

  10. Again, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your article. God bless you and your family.

  11. Milions thanks KhunDan. ❤️ ❤️❤️

  12. Thanks, Mr. Dan for a clearly and reasonably answers to BBC.
    BBCs do not stop to make a shame. I think BBCs understand everything (they know they do for what). I’m not sure they will stop the rude behaviors or not. They often do like this for a long time. Political issues and needing to threaten Thailand are the cause of the problems. However, I hope others (I mean people from other countries) will obtain the better understanding from your articles.

  13. Thank you 🙏🏻Kim Dan.

  14. Theeramoke N | November 3, 2017 at 10:22 pm |

    Great thanks from all Thais for your article.

  15. Supang Sguansaitgul | November 3, 2017 at 11:16 pm |

    Thanks Dan. It is about time that BBC and other world media to reconsider its impartiality reports. Imagine they didn’t spare you from their arrogant behavior as they have been doing it to us (‘non-European’j continuously.

  16. Fay Chakrabandu | November 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm |

    Shame on BBC/BBC thai. Thank you very much, Blacharski.

  17. Thanks to Khun Dan.
    BBC should to know. Most Thai people are disgusted to them after watched that bias interview.
    If the BBC understands and cares about the loss of Thais They should have etiquette in presenting.

  18. Petcharat Asuni Na Ayudhya | November 4, 2017 at 12:07 am |

    With heartfelt thanks.

  19. Thank you very much Dan. and thank you BBC to show How you are?

  20. Thank you very much 👍

  21. Heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your precious article.
    Strongly agree with this article.
    Because of Jonathan Head has been a BBC’s corespondent, I have lost my trust on BBC news.
    He is absolutely lazy, rude and arrogant

  22. Thank you so much for writing this article.

  23. BBC is real real garbage.
    Thanks for your response to them in professional way.

  24. Thank you is not enough from millions of Thai people.

  25. Sasi Posayajinda | November 4, 2017 at 1:48 am |

    Thank you for your true understanding of Thai culture and Thai people sorrow. BBC is such a prejudice media, try to mislead issues of Thailand quite often and never accept any of their acts. What a shame!

  26. Right on, Mr. Blarcharski! Thank you for telling it like it is for us Thais.

  27. Thank you so much

  28. Awesome job teaching journalism to that scumbag writer, Dan!

    BBC ought to be ashamed of themselves. But then again, they probably have no sense of shame to employ that kind people.

  29. Now I want to hear what BBC is going to say? Don’t chick … don’t dispute further. You and your country are not better than anyone else. In fact, it has proved after this case that you are only a stupid idiot who don’t respect others.

  30. Agree. It’s all about “intention”. One cannot lie oneself. Why BBC writes about the “cost”? Why quotes focusing on “genuine”. Why picks up on something that u know yourself that can lead to “Question? Curiosity?” It’s like u start the headline and end it with “Oh reeeeally?”

  31. Thank you for your excellent article supported by facts and examples. BBC is a such a disgrace and shameless news outlet these days.

  32. Paega Publishing | November 4, 2017 at 3:53 am |

    Thanks. Some BBC reporters are so bias that we believe they might get huge presents from Thaksin.

  33. Thank from the bottom of my heart!

  34. Thank you million times, Dan. What kind of response will come from BBC?

  35. Angkhana Chermsirivatana | November 4, 2017 at 4:07 am |

    Thank you

  36. I was a BBC fan since I entered my working life. I was told about the the bias and agendas of BBC when I moved to Paris 15yrs ago. But I completely stopped reading and watching BBC about 3 yrs ago when I felt very unfair reporting about Thailand. One sided. That was when I start to question the professionality of BBC to any world current issues. Why I should waste my time following. Thank Don u read my mind.

  37. Sonthit Chukate | November 4, 2017 at 4:30 am |

    Thank you so much for your understanding Thai peoples and helping us to battle with evil.

  38. Wanwisa Sungsri | November 4, 2017 at 4:39 am |

    A million thanks to Khun Dan. Yes, it was not about the cost, BBC you cannot find the resonable cost for our late KING! Shame on you, even you have a Royal family but you never ever feel like us, all Thais.

  39. Khun Dan is kind enough to respond to BBC when they reached out to him indivudually. BBC you will probably need to reach out to other million people to seek the same kind of thing? Work harder BBC!!!

    A shame to unshamed BBC.

  40. Manee Sunderman | November 4, 2017 at 5:01 am |

    Thank you very much Mr. Blacharski. For a long time I thought BBC had just a few bad apples but now I know it’s worse than I thought. BBC has just lowered its standard by sending you these messages (if there is any standard at this organization).
    You have shown to the Thais people and BBC what a real professional journalist is.

  41. BBC JEALOUS ,SO CANNOT STAND THEIR EMOTION TO JEALOUS OUR KING.
    SO HOW MANY PEOPLE LOVE YOUR…………..

  42. Aphinan Charoensook | November 4, 2017 at 6:17 am |

    Dear Mr.Dan, I wonder why you are so serious about this matter, you are not Thai, while those Thais who are incharge sit back on this, may God bless you and protect you for all the good you have done for our people. Thank you so much.

  43. N. Vaneesorn | November 4, 2017 at 6:22 am |

    Hats off with great respect to both of your articles with regards to The Royal Crematorium matter.
    I am truely appreciate your kind effort to express what we, Thais, had precisely felt and the response to BBC’s article as well as the great translation into Thai posted by Khun Charoenkwan’s FB later on.
    Thank you so much. I truly am greatful.

    p.s. truely disappointed with BBC’s foreign correspondents and their works for quite sometime.
    I miss the old day that their works were true, unbiased and just right.

  44. Kate Masterson | November 4, 2017 at 7:25 am |

    Excellent article. I was shocked when I later heard what had been written by the ‘non-bias BBC Thailand and I am British!

  45. Pornthep Phitaksinsakul | November 4, 2017 at 8:00 am |

    Khun Dan, I’d like to express my Sincerity Thanks and appreciation for your article and your responded to BBC. I’m not good in English to explain them on how much I disappointed in their professionalism reporter.

    Regards, Pornthep P.

  46. Thank you very much for your article.

  47. Shame on BBC Producer.

  48. I do believe all Thai are highly appreciated what you’ve done. A great person you are.

  49. I do believe all Thai are highly appreciated what you’ve done. A great person you are.

  50. Dear Khun Dan,
    Thank a million for both of your articles to our late King.

    Shame on BBC people, even you have Royal family in England too, but you aren’t felt what THAI PEOPLE ARE.

  51. Thank you writer.And word that best describe is “Ugly pig BBC”

  52. Vinie Keattikul | November 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm |

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart

  53. Is BBC Barbaric Bastard Cuckold?
    Is it Jonathan Dick Head?

    • My sincere thank for your insightful article. The world should have more people like you working as jounalist – not Jonathan Dickhead!

  54. Thank you very much for sacrificing valuable time to write this article. All words are clear. And you do not need to delete it because that’s the real thing.

    Thank you so much, from Thailand.

  55. Sireenart Diloknitas | November 6, 2017 at 2:23 am |

    Thank you so much for your sincere unbiased message to BBC. Yes, 90 million dollars is huge and we would be definitely mad if this amount of money got spent on other stuff. I feel even if it’s more expensive than 90 mio USD, we DO NOT care. His sacrifice towards the country and his people cannot be numbered!!

  56. “I see that you have not responded,…”
    OMGoodness. Wadda tard!
    and time’s up, “d.Head” should back to wan.den.

  57. Thank you for your greatest support. Your article is well described.

  58. Just a bias news agency. They earn the benefits under the table. Everytime this shit reports sth u have to divide millions to findin the truth. Hijo de puta.

  59. best article , thank you very much Khun Dan.

  60. Dhiraporn Chaiwatcharaporn | November 13, 2017 at 12:39 am |

    Dear BBC,
    You are British under the British Monarchy, and must absolutely unserstand this kind of admistration.By comparing Thailand under the monarchy of King Bhumipol and yours, I truely beleive that you can see the total differences of their
    works, efforts, and devotions for their people. Jealousy, right? I forgive you,but never forget it.

  61. Jonathan Head should be headed twice and put twelve feet under cover the hole with dog shit.

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