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THURSDAY, October 06, 2022
FCCT urges caution over moves that will damage ‘fragile traditional media’

FCCT urges caution over moves that will damage ‘fragile traditional media’

WEDNESDAY, May 03, 2017

Thailand's domestic media is struggling to maintain professional standards and editorial independence in particularly challenging times and caution should be exercised over any moves that damage the country’s already fragile traditional media, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) said.

The FCCT statement, as part of World Press Freedom Day, added that it stands by its colleagues in Thailand's domestic media as newspapers in particular are financially and operationally threatened as never before, and recent attempts to branch into digital television have been disastrous.
Thailand also has some of the most onerous, controversial, and vengeful defamation laws in the world, the FCCT said, which are designed to instill fear and deter legitimate investigation rather than deliver justice.
The National Reform Steering Assembly's draft Bill on the Protection of Media Rights, lumps all 'media' together indiscriminately and misguidedly, it said. 
Press cards are already issued to help recognized media organizations carry out their work and overworked and underpaid journalists do not need any further official oversight, particularly by individuals lacking relevant media experience, the FCCT said.
Official efforts to improve the overall media situation in the country would be much better channeled into educating the public about the perils of fake news, bogus websites, online trolls, and highly irresponsible and genuinely defamatory social media activities that are widespread and evidently beyond regulation.
The FCCT called on the Thai public to demand responsibility and accuracy from all parts of the media and legitimate journalists should be allowed to get on with their work without interference or intimidation.
“There is no profession on the planet more open to public scrutiny and criticism,” said the FCCT statement.
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), meanwhile, expressed its deep concerns over the draft bill.
SEAPA said it is deeply troubled that the current military government is seemingly seeking to make the restrictions permanent. Requiring a certificate to practice journalism, media registration, and state representation in the proposed National Professional Media Council all go against the core principles of press freedom.
SEAPA said it was alarming that the state-sanctioned media council will have jurisdiction over existing complaint mechanisms for individual journalists, media outlets, and professional media groups.
The alliance expressed its solidarity with the Thai Journalist Association and its allied organizations in opposing the draft bill.
“We repeat and fully support their call to stop the draft bill and efforts to muzzle the media,” said SEAPA.