The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) has expressed serious concern about the injuries inflicted by rubber bullets on journalists covering protests around Bangkok’s Sanam Luang on Saturday night.
The FCCT noted that police had used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
It also urged Thai authorities to recognise that journalists covering the protests are doing their jobs and should not be targeted.
The statement was issued after one journalist was hospitalised for a head scan after being struck in the head by a rubber bullet on Saturday night.
The FCCT endorsed a statement by six Thai media associations calling for authorities to respect the democratic right of people to protest peacefully, without provocation, weapons or the use of force. The media statement also called on police to avoid violence by clearly informing protesters and the media in advance about the steps to be taken.
Meanwhile, the FCCT cited United Nations guidelines stating that rubber bullets should only be used as a last resort against violent protesters and should be aimed at the lower body of individuals identified as posing a specific risk, and never aimed at the head.
The media club also urged Thai authorities to review their crowd-control procedures and to take particular care not to use force on working journalists in a protest.