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Media council to be tasked with setting standards

Jun 28. 2017
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THE NATIONAL Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA)’s media reform committee has already drawn up media standards, even though the pending controversial media regulation bill would assign that duty to the professional media council, which has not yet been set up.

The draft guideline was introduced yesterday in an opinion-gathering session for the bill, hosted by the committee and the NRSA, at Suan Dusit University. Professionals from media associations turned down an invitation to join yesterday’s seminar.

The bill was proposed as part of the committee’s media reform recommendation proposal and endorsed by the NRSA in May. It stipulates that it is the media professional council’s responsibility to draw up the guidelines to keep up with changes in society and cover various aspects such as accuracy, fairness, awareness of impacts, and responsibility. 

The committee’s print media sub-panel, however, has already developed the guideline, laying out six major frameworks for the media. They range from accuracy and accountability of news sources and of reporting, impartial treatment of advertisers, prevention of conflicts of interests, news sensitivity on certain subjects including supernatural matters, gifts handling, and accountable online reporting.

ACM Kanit Suwannet, chairman of the media reform committee, said that the intention of the seminar was to gather opinions to help develop the central guideline for a media code of conduct. 

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, vice chairman of the NRSA and a former journalist, emphasised the need for media reform to ensure it could be a mouthpiece for the people and to make it report responsibly.

Major media groups, including the Thai Journalists Association (TJA), remained quiet on the committee proposal as they viewed the new standard as part of the bill that infringes on press freedom.

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