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Drones Provide New Perspective in Coverage of Thai Protests

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 27 2013

Between 100,000 and 440,000 demonstrators swarmed Democracy Monument earlier this week. (Wikipedia)

Throngs of Thai demonstrators have flooded the streets of Bangkok and forced the closure of five government ministries in their attempt to “overthrow” their government, led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Two English language news sources—The Nation and The Bangkok Post—have gotten a new perspective on the current political upheaval. Their coverage of the demonstrations is accompanied by sweeping photographs taken from drones.

An analysis of “Bangkok's unlikely embrace of drone journalism” by Quartz points out that the photographs “provide a clear portrait of events.” Still, even with the photographs, estimates of the number of demonstration participants varies greatly. According to both The Nation and The Bangkok Post, on the same day security forces put the number at 100,000 people and a spokesperson for the rally at Democracy Monument reported at least 440,000 (based on the number of stickers handed out).

Demonstration organizers hoped that the crowds would swell to at least one million.

Drone journalism is a trend on the rise. One photographer covering the aftermath of Super-typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines used a drone to capture images—and this film—of the damage. He inadvertently discovered two dead bodies in the process.

The huge advantage of drones is the ability to get access to the sky and aerial shots or footage without waiting for officials or hiring a plane. The Nation and The Bangkok Post would never have gotten the images they have now if they had been dependent on authorities, who could be invested in minimizing the scope of the demonstrations.

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