Supinya Klangnarong

Ashoka Fellow
Thailand,
Fellow Since 2004
Campaign for Popular Media Reform (CPMR)

Citation

This profile was prepared when Supinya Klangnarong was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Supinya Klangnarong exploits an important provision in Thailand’s new constitution to provide the citizens of her country with unprecedented power over television and radio broadcasts. Her Campaign for Popular Media Reform is the primary engine driving change in Thailand’s electronic media; Article 40 of the nation’s constitution is the fuel for that engine. Article 40 states that radio and television frequencies are national resources for the public interest. Supinya interprets this to mean that communication is a resource over which every citizen has a right to exercise a degree of control. In her interpretation, people are no longer just “targets for marketing, controlled by advertising and the political powers-that-be.” Rather, they have the right to produce as well as consume; to be seen and heard, as well as to see and hear.
Supinya’s work makes effective connections between laws and institutions, individuals and principles, public resources and the wider society. She quickly grasped the opportunity presented by the new constitution in 1997, and within three years she helped push through a law bringing home the democratic potential of Article 40. Knowing the crucial difference between written law and practiced law, she campaigns vigorously to see that law enforced. She has also seeded the rapid growth of a nationwide network of community radio stations, positioning it as an entry point into all forms of popular mass media.
Once her major struggles for policy change and media regulation are won, Supinya—once a television producer—hopes to focus on the production and broadcasting of new media. She looks forward to nurturing the natural progression of grassroots media in Thailand from local to regional, and regional to national; from radio to television and beyond. Her success lies in the words of the people who find their voice and audience through her programs.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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