The Bangkok Post is an English language daily newspaper in Bangkok, Thailand. It was founded by Alexander MacDonald and his Thai Associate Prasit Lulitanond. MacDonald had a journalism degree from Boston University and his early career involved reporting and editing for newspapers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Hawai’i. So how did he end up starting a newspaper in Thailand?
The year 1941 saw the attack on Pearl Harbor. MacDonald joined the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and commanded a unit in the Burmese jungle, broadcasting news into Japanese-occupied Thailand.
After the war, MacDonald recognised a void—the only English language paper in Thailand, the Bangkok Times, had closed during the war. He and Lulitanond, who had worked with him during the war, saw this as an opportunity to start a new English language daily.
But post-war years were marked with severe shortage of supply, including a printing press. There was nothing left of the old publishing house of the Bangkok Times. But they found an abandoned Japanese printing house and after buying it MacDonald convinced the US embassy to allow two Japanese prisoners to help him operate and repair the press.
On August 1st, 1946, the first ever issue of the Bangkok Post was published. What was then a circulation of just 200, is now 110,000.
Initially, critics alleged the paper was funded by the U.S. government to promote pro-American views. But MacDonald insisted on the paper’s impartiality and was most known for his column “Postmen say” where he promoted democracy and free speech. Eight years into his role as editor, a military regime ousted him from the paper and out of Thailand.
The paper has since had multiple owners but the major shareholders include GMM Grammy Pcl (Thailand’s biggest media and entertainment company), the Chirathivat family (owners of Central Group), and the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong. It stands as a fairly independent newspaper in a country where media censorship is common. Yet it has had a history of self censorship in order to avoid conflict with the government or powerful individuals like the Thai Royal Family.
The Bangkok Post covers local and international news, business, sports, opinion and analysis. But they also have smaller sections like Guru (an entertainment magazine for younger audiences), B. Magazine (a Sunday supplement that covers lifestyle, celebrities and columns), and a separate section for arts, travel and tech. Since English isn’t Thailand’s official language, their website also offers a Learning section where audiences can learn English using the paper.
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