When choosing and placing a picture of HM The King in a newspaper, the editors have to be very careful. They not only have to choose a suitable picture which shows him in the best light, they also have to be careful of where it is placed on the page. Any picture of the royal family must be at the top of the page. At the very least it mustn’t have a picture of anyone else above. One newspaper went to the extreme a year or so ago. They had a nice picture of some Thai students who had just won some medals abroad. One of them was holding a picture of the king, but instead of holding it up high above, it was being held by someone in the bottom row. So, there were people above the picture of the king in this picture of the Thai students. The solution? They photoshopped out the picture of the king. They probably would have gotten away with it but other newspapers printed the same picture. They were trying to do the right thing but still got criticized in the end.
Newspapers have to also be careful that members of the royal family are not seen in any uncompromising situations. For example, photographers are not allowed to take pictures of royalty eating. There is a long list of official do’s and don’ts on this which is why you are forbidden on taking pictures unless you are an accredited member of the press. One time, I had all my credentials but as I wasn’t wearing a suit I had to wait at the back until the royal family had left. I have posted these newspapers here because it is interesting to see the choice of pictures used by the two English language papers and the Thai papers. In the top two, the King is almost hidden. I saw the Bangkok Post story first and was surprised that the Queen was the prominent person in the picture. Then I saw the Nation had chosen a similar picture for their front page. What is interesting, is that all of the Thai dailies chose the above picture of HM The King in the wheelchair. We all know he is hospitalized so the wheelchair is not an issue. Overall, it is a much better choice of the King as it is a clear shot.