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 Home > About Thailand > The Arts > Publishing


Christian missionaries introduced Thailand's first printing press in 1835. Nineteenth-century interest in publishing was confined mostly to the royal court and foreign groups of missionaries and businessmen. No fewer than seven English-language newspapers began and ceased publication between 1844 and 1877.

One royal publication, the Royal Gazette, founded in 1858 by King Mongkut (Rama IV), exists to the present day as the official medium for acts, decrees, ministerial proclamations, and public announcements of newly-promulgated laws.

Daily newspapers came into their own during King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)'s reign when 20 dailies, including one Chinese and two English-language publications, were being printed. The King, himself a skilled writer, used several pen names to write newspaper articles commenting on issues of the day.

Thai publishing at present is a lively business. A glance at any ordinary news-stand reveals hundreds of different local newspapers, magazines, and paperback books on every conceivable subject. Many foreign best-sellers are translated into Thai soon after their appearance abroad.

Publications often change constantly through time. Magazines and newspapers will adhere to certain current topics of popular interest to the public. By that nature, they may continue or cease operation as they deem fit. Among the well established Thai language newspapers, Thai Rath has the largest circulation and, like most other newspapers elsewhere, is inclined towards sensational news. Its chief competitors, Daily News and Matichon have also won a fair degree of popularity among the Thai readers who often demonstrate the distinctive taste for both entertainment and information.

Sin Sian Yit Pao is the leading Chinese-language newspaper, while the Nation Review and the Bangkok Post are the major English-language papers.

Sarisarn editor Khun Killawan Pinthong, receiving "the best magazine" award from Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn.

Magazines in both English and Thai will cater to a wide spectrum of tastes. Some are targetting principally at woman readers through such attractions as the serialized romantic stories and house-keeping tips, while the others will focus on interior design, fashion, sports, and business. Standards of production have dramatically improved during recent years and high quality colour printing has been quite common. In this diverse range of the Thai magazine market, Satrisarn is considered the oldest, and Sukulthai Weekly the most popular among the well educated readers. Both have been awarded "the best magazine" for youth readers by the National Youth Office of Thailand. In 1994 Sakulthai received the Phra Kieo Thongkham Award for outstanding use of the Thai language from Chulalognkorn University.


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