By Pravit Rojanaphruk,
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told the World Newspaper Congress in Bangkok yesterday the mass media must exercise press freedom responsibly.
“Freedom without responsibility can lead to confusion and even turmoil,” the prime minister said.
She pointed out that on the Internet, when damage has been done, “it is impossible to reverse the damage”.
“Freedom is not unlimited even in an advanced democracy,” said the premier, during a key address at Centara Grand Hotel, citing such issues as national security.
On Monday, outgoing president of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Jacob Matthew expressed deep concern about “misuse” of the lese majeste law in Thailand.
Editor of the now-defunct Voice of Taksin news magazine, Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, was sentenced to 10 years jail earlier this year for publishing two articles, which he testified had been written by exiled former pro-Thaksin politician Jakrapob Penkair, after a court found that they defamed the monarchy.
Yingluck made no mention of the lese majeste law, which contributes to the low ranking of the Thai press in freedom indexes, such as one published by Freedom House, however she stressed that editors and journalists must strike a balance between freedom of the press and media responsibility.
The PM noted that Thailand was embarking on major infrastructure projects such as high-speed trains that would link Thailand with its neighbours, Laos among them, and that these links would eventually extend to China, Russia and Europe.
The mass media had a crucial role to play, she said, in providing information that would create common ground and understanding amongst people of different nations.