Statement of World Press Freedom Day
“Building Peace Justice and Social Responsibility”
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has designated May 3 for the annual celebration of World Press Freedom Day to mark the importance of press freedom – that is parts of fundamental rights of the people.
In recognition of the importance of this day, Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and Confederation of Thai Journalists and allied organizations would like to make the following recommendations to parties concerned.
1. We urge the media of all branches to realize that amid the crisis situation facing the country they must perform their duty in due respect of human dignity, avoid using abrasive words that instigate hate and provide themselves as a public platform for all sides equally and report on the roots of problems facing the country and solutions.
Despite the constitutional guarantee of free expression and press freedom, the media is bound to perform its duty in accordance with the principle of social responsibility and professional ethics.
2. We urge to all parties to the current conflicts to stop using the media as a political tool to fight against each other by way of propagandizing, distorting facts to their own benefits, instigating hatred against the adversaries as well as instigating violence in resolving the conflicts.
3. We appeal to the executives and legislative institutions to show their sincerity in implementing the media reform of both radio and television regimes, accelerating the enactment of related laws to ensure a free and fair distribution and regulation of frequencies and enforcing the laws related to the broadcast and radio and television business regulation. At the same time, state agencies that own public frequencies must show its willingness to reform themselves in response to the changing society. In this regard, the government must cease to interfere and use state media as its political tool.
4. We appeal to the people to use their judgment wisely in receiving news and information and to open up to diverse views from the media. The public must also exercise caution in receiving news and information from the media that is being used as political tool.
5. We, the undersigned media professional organizations, reiterate that press freedom is important to our democracy underpinned by the constitutional monarchy. Any action by any group that abuses people’s rights to free expression is unacceptable and will be fought against in the fullest force.
Thai Journalists Association
Thai Broadcast Journalists Association
Confederation of Thai Journalists
3 May 2010