Blunting Philip Morris’ Sponsorship For APEC Meeting
On October 10, 2003 Dr.Hatai Chitanondh heard and saw a news in both radio and television about a Deputy Premier and the Director-General of the Public Relations Department accepting donation from Philip Morris (Thailand) Co. in the amount of 3 million Baht. This would be used to produce English Language skill enhancement program to be aired by the Department ‘s TV channel 11 to educate the taxi drivers and the public to be a good host of the upcoming APEC meeting
10 October 2003 – News of the Public Relations Department Headlined, “Deputy Prime Minister accepts donation for “English language fluency development program for welcoming foreign guests.” Its content included the following: “Mr. Suchart Suchartvejbhum, Director General of the Public Relations Department said that one of the significant factors promoting the potential for gaining competitive advantage in world economic arena while enhancing leadership in the Asia and Pacific region is the knowledge and skill in English utilization up to the extent that one could communicate well in listening, speaking and writing.”
The Public Relations Department through the Thai T.V. channel 11, under cooperation with Philip Morris (Thailand) Co. Ltd., has produced 2 programs: “Be My Guest” televised during weekends, from 21.30 – 21.45 hrs. and “Friendly English” televised during week days from 21.58 -22.00, beginning on 4 October 2003 and 6 October 2003 respectively.
Today (10 October 2003) Mr. Visanu Krua-ngarm, Deputy Prime Minister will preside over official donation of grant for the English language fluency development or “Smiling Host” program form Philip Morris (Thailand) Co., Ltd. in the amount of 3 million Baht. This ceremony will be held of the meeting room # 203, 2nd floor of The Public Relations Department building.”
Dr. Hatai thought this was an arrogant move of PM and we must counter hard and fast. This issue should be framed in a big way so that the public should know the tobacco industry’s real intention of its image laundering.
DROPPING A BOMB
The Hatai picked up his mobile and called a reporter of the Matichon newspaper, the daily Thai newspaper with the third largest circulation, telling her that the deputy premier blatantly violated the Tobacco Product Control Act 1992 and the Ministry of Public Health must prosecute him. The result was a big front-page news, as follows: