Thai Journalists Association names 2015
"Year of Media Reform" calling for all parties to join in solving problems related to the media.
The statement of the TJA issued yesterday read that over the year 2014, the media had to work in the situation of political conflicts which led to violence that killed and injured many people including nine journalists. The wrongdoers have not been arrested or convicted.
During political rallies of the opposing sides, the protesters used many measures to threaten the media including surrounding of them while doing their job surrounding their offices with an attempt to pressure the media to take their side. This is considered interference in the media's professionalism and reporting on the objective, fair and all-round basis, as well as the opening of public sphere for freedom of expression where the people can exercise their rights responsibly.
However, some of the media were criticised of being part of the conflicts while failing to provide the facts based on evidences fairly.
Some media were also abused as political tools. They also disseminated the content that violated people's human rights or added the oil to the fire. Meanwhile, the media regulation bodies including the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission failed to take measures properly.
After the power seizure by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), under the Martial Law, all types of television and radio were closed. The NCPO later gradually allowed the media to operate but still issued the Announcements Number 97 and 103 to control the work of the media. The NCPO and the government from time to time summoned or invited editors and media owners for a meeting. This unavoidably affected the free flow of information and the people's freedom of expression.
Media reform is one of the 11 branches of the reform under the National Reform Council identified in the Interim Constitution. This reflects the importance and urgency in solving the problems related to the media.
The Thai Journalists Association (TJA), which has been working to protect the freedom of the press and promote media professionalism, will turn 60 on March 5, 2015. It has come up with the campaign "Freedom with Responsibility" and the time for the reform of the media and the newspeople.
In 2015, the TJA urges all the people to realise the importance of the public sphere for the freedom of expression in democratic system. At the same time, the media should be regarded with balance of being a public service and business simultaneously.
The TJA insists the freedom of expression ensured by the Constitution and the people who comply with the law be able to express their opinions without fear.
The TJA insists all the media practitioners, professional, community and civic journalists, stick to the Code of Ethics and enjoy the freedom responsibly. Meanwhile, the media be free from political financial and other influence. Cross-media ownership deserves a right model of regulation.
Moreover, journalists deserve the reasonable amount of salaries, welfare and benefit that they can work and live in society with dignity. Besides, they deserve the opportunities and access to trainings and professional development.
Thai Journalists Association
January 1, 2015