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I think that ThaiVisa offers us a well balanced and interesting enviroment to express our views and find information, so I was slightly offended by this article that I found whilst surfing the net.

The Nation has recently gotten into a commercial relationship with a website called Thai Visa.com. This site is very popular with expats who want to know about the latest regulations and visa requirements in the Kingdom, as well as an assortment of other information about this area. They also have a forum for discussing many of the issues of the day.

The problem is that it is heavily biased and heavily censored and might reflect badly on the Nation, which respects freedom of speech.

The site is monitored by unpaid “moderators” who are supposed to keep control of other posters by remaining above the fray, but they also participate in discussions and are anything but impartial. Most other forums refer to them as Thai Visa’s “little Brown-shirts” for obvious reasons.

The big problem is the long list of very strict forum rules. They are often ignored if the poster is saying something that the moderators support, but enforced vigorously when they don’t, and the moderators almost always agree with each other on everything.

They are positive that they are right - about all and sundry - to the point where any other viewpoint is made to look like a thought-crime. They have even thrown off a number of professional journalists and writers who have insisted on thinking outside the Thai Visa box.

Another problem is that most of the moderators have an extreme left-wing bias and there are absolutely no conservative and very few middle-of-the-road moderators to balance their views. Anyone who is not in either camp, notices right away that the site has no “middle way”.

The BIG rule is that no one can question the moderators decisions under any circumstances – about anything - and posters are often thrown off the site permanently for doing so.

Why exclude potential customers of Thai Visa (and The Nation) because of differing political philosophies?

I would be banned from the Thai Visa website right away for posting this bit of heresy, but all I would like to do is point out that this is the 21st century and that they might want to make some changes towards incorporating a little freedom of speech and democracy.

Frank Wells

The Nation, Letters, 11 Feb. 2009

Edited by KamalaLove
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