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Media self-regulation needed to restore public’s trust: panel

Feb 23. 2017
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By The Nation

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While self-regulation of the media is the best practice to ensure press freedom, the media should also elevate its own standards to address the declining public trust, a panel discussion on the government’s proposed media bill heard recently. 

The event titled “Regulating the Media in Thailand” was hosted on Wednesday night by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok.

The draft media bill proposed by the National Reform Steering Assembly would establish a 13-member media council, which would include two ministerial permanent secretaries. The council would be authorised to issue and revoke media licences, which currently are not required to practise journalism.

Thepchai Yong, president of the Thai Broadcast Journalist Association, has led 30 media organisations in opposition to the draft bill on the grounds that it would allow political powers to exercise control over media affairs. 

“It doesn’t matter how many authorities would be on that council,” Thepchai said at the panel discussion. “Their true intentions would remain that authorities would have a place to make decisions in media affairs,”

Pirongrong Ramasoot, a communications academic at Chulalongkorn University, said that despite there being scores of media organisations in the Kingdom, self-regulatory mechanisms were rarely effective. 

“Many of them merely copy codes of ethics from each other and claim that they have self-regulatory organs,” she said. “But in fact, very few consumer complaints have been forwarded to them, raising questions whether such mechanisms are truly effective.”

 

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