Sunday, January 19, 2020

Media urged to be discreet and respect privacy of individuals

Jul 03. 2018
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By THE NATION

THAI MEDIA reporting on the rescue mission for 12 young footballers and their assistant coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai have been urged to be discreet and respect the privacy of concerned people and to present reports constructively.

Meanwhile, the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC), whose members have joined the Thai mission, said in a media update that it had a policy not to confirm the names of British cave rescuers, even though some names have been stated in various media reports. 

The council said it would like the rescuers’ privacy to be respected, allowing them to get on with their difficult task without distraction. 

In a statement yesterday, the National Press Council of Thailand sought cooperation from members of the media, who have been covering the ongoing search and rescue operations at the Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, to conduct pool interviews later with the victims and their families. 

This would spare the children from having to repeatedly answer the same questions and allow them to focus on their physical and mental recovery, the press council said.

It also urged that updates be shared among media members to ensure orderliness, avoiding competition that could affect the rights and privacy of concerned people. 

The council advised media members to work with doctors and psychiatrists to get a better understanding so as to ensure they ask appropriate questions and treat the victims and families properly without creating misunderstanding, disunity or additional trauma. 

It also warned against digging up information and pictures for “in-depth” news presentation that may violate the victims’ rights and avoid finger-pointing because news reports should be constructive, find solutions and prevent such a reoccurrence. 

It also praised media members who had tried to cover the saga in a balanced way with clarity, accuracy and fact-checking.

Earlier, some media members reportedly tried to pose questions to the boys’ parents until the authority posted signs prohibiting interviews at the entrance to the cave. 

Following the discovery of the team on Monday night, some media members wanted to take pictures and have interviews with the parents, despite provincial officials’ attempts to keep them in a separate quarter.

Meanwhile, Justice Ministry spokesman and deputy permanent secretary Thawatchai Thaikhiew warned that the Child Protection Act prohibited anyone from publishing information about minors and their parents with intent to cause damage. 

He urged media members to take care when conducting interviews with the footballers – most of whom are children experiencing a traumatic ordeal – so that the questions would not affect their mental state. 

“Certain leading questions that promote law-breaking shouldn’t be asked, as that would be an offence. The media should let the youths rest sufficiently and undergo treatments until they are ready. Taking the children to do anything should also be permitted by their parents or guardians first,” he added. 

 

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