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.