Bangkok continues to exert such a strong influence on perceptions of Thailand and its society that it always refreshing to learn more about the nitty gritty of life beyond the metropolis.
Over the years I think it would be fair to say that the Bangkok-based media has paid less attention to regional issues that it should. This is probably inevitable for a country with such a dominant “primate city” but it does lead to sometimes distorted perceptions of Thailand and its people.
In an effort to provide English language news from an under-reported corner of the country The Issan Record is off to a strong start. It has been operating since early 2011 and provides regular commentary on political and economic matters in northeast Thailand. A fair chunk of its attention is being devoted to tracking the evolution of various protest movements in that region. Today it alerts us that:
Non Dindaeng district [Buriram province] police investigators filed trespassing and destruction of government property charges against three village leaders yesterday for their village’s continued settlement on disputed land in the Dongyai Forest Preserve. The charges stem from an ongoing land dispute between the members of the Kao Baat forest village, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Royal Forestry Department (RFD), and the Thai military.
These strike me as exactly the kind of story that we should be hearing more about. Kudos to The Issan Record for their efforts to provide ongoing coverage from northeast Thailand.
As an aside, New Mandala readers intrigued by academic commentary on land disputes and village evictions in another region of Thailand may also want to check out some of these older materials (here, here and here).