Statement by Thai media organizations
World Press Freedom Day
May 3, 2017
Every year, May 3rd, under the auspices of UNESCO, journalists all over the world commemorate the World Press Freedom Day. It’s a day to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tributes to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
For Thailand, World Press Freedom Day this year has added significance. As the country continues to live under the shadow of a military dictatorship, Thai media are under increasing pressure from a number of decrees issued by the National Council for Peace and Order that restrict press freedom and freedom of expressions. More importantly, despite strong public opposition, the National Reform Steering Assembly only two days ago pushed through the Bill on the Protection and Promotion of Media Rights, Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standard. The bill is essentially designed to facilitate political interference in the media and restrict press freedom.
In observing the World Press Freedom Day today, Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, Confederation of Thai Journalists, National Press Council of Thailand, News Broadcasting Council of Thailand, Professionals of Broadcasting Council (Thailand), Thailand Cable TV Association, Online News Providers Association and a network of 22 other major media organizations jointly take the following stand:
- Those in power withdraw the Bill on the Protection and Promotion of Media Rights, Freedom, Ethics and Professional Standard because it not only curtails press freedom and the people’s rights to know but also contravenes the principles of the Constitution of 2017
2. Abrogate all current announcements and orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order that contravene the Constitution of 2017 whose basic principles guarantee press freedom and people’s freedom of expressions.
3. While the Constitution gives guarantee to press freedom, all media professionals and organizations must exercise their profession with responsibility and observe professional ethics in carrying out their duty while being held accountable to the public.
4. People as consumers of news play an active role in holding the media accountable to ensure that they strictly observe professional ethics.
5. Media professional organizations reaffirm that press freedom is crucial to democracy under the monarchy and are opposed to any attempts to restrict the independence of the media and the people’s freedom of expressions. The media professional organizations also reiterate their commitment to making self-regulation more effective and more credible.
The Thai Journalists Association
Thai Broadcast Journalists Association
Confederation of Thai Journalists
National Press Council of Thailand
News Broadcasting Council of Thailand
Professionals of Broadcasting Council (Thailand)
Thailand Cable TV Association
Online News Providers Association
A network of 22 other major media organizations