Thai Journalists Association & Thai Broadcast Journalists Association
Media’s conducts for news coverage under the Internal Security Act imposed between 1-10 August 2013
The Thai government has announced imposition of the Internal Security Act for 10 days in three districts of Bangkok including Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Satruphai, as a measure to handle scheduled political rallies.
Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) affirm the press freedom and that the media should be able to enter all the rallies’ areas safely for news coverage. However, a lot of journalists were killed or injured from the violence during political demonstrations in the past. Therefore, to ensure safety for the media on duty, the two associations had a meeting with the Royal Thai Police and reached following agreements:
1. All journalists have the rights to cover news in protest areas and be protected by laws. Meanwhile, a journalist on duty in any protest area must not be regarded as a protester. A “Press” armband issued by TJA and TBJA is aimed at allowing police officers to be able to easily notice a journalist from a long distance or in a situation of chaos. It is not a symbol of registration to enter a protest area. Therefore, a police officer must follow the law and use reasonable judgment in treating any professional journalist who work honestly and do not have any provocative behavior, regardless whether the journalist is wearing the “Press” armband or not.
Nevertheless, TJA, TBJA hereby advise journalists to wear the “Press” armband issued by the two associations and carry their organization’s identification card at all time of the news coverage. News agencies are urged to submit a letter to the TJA’s or TBJA’s president, identifying the required number of Press armbands for the agency’s journalists as well as the list of assigned journalists. The armbands can be acquired at the TJA, TBJA’s headquarters: 538/1 Samsen rd., opposite to Vajira Hospital, Dusit, Bangkok Tel: 02-668-9422, 02-2438479 ; Fax: 02-668-7505 or visit www.tja.or.th or www.thaibja.org. The Press armbands are also available for independent journalists, provincial journalists and foreign journalists. They can submit a certified letter from their news agency, or the media outlet they contribute to, as the required document.
2. The Royal Thai Police agree to systematically and properly alert the media prior to any protest dispersal or possible use of harsh measures to end violence. Police agree to provide “safety zones” and “adequate time” for the media to move to the safety zones prior to police’s use of tear gas or other chaos control measures. The media are required to show their armband as well as press identification card issued by their agencies to enter such areas.
3. TJA, TBJA and the Royal Thai Police have appointed particular coordinators to ensure correct mutual understanding and to coordinate in case of emergency. Their names are available at the TJA, TBJA and the Royal Thai Police headquarters. Professional media are responsible for free and fair news coverage on the all-round basis for the sake of people’s rights to information. The professional media associations, TJA and TBJA, urge all the media and people involved to respect such professionalism.
Thai Journalists Association,
Thai Broadcast Journalists Association
3 August 2013