Joint Statement of Professional Media Organizations

Joint Statement of Professional Media Organizations

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Thai Broadcast
Journalists Association (TBJA)  condemn the acts of intimidation of
the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) against
media workers in connection with UDD leader Jatiporn Promphan's
press conference during which he claimed that there was a
concentration of security forces at Chulalongkorn Hospital who
would disperse the UDD protesters, known as the Red Shirts, in
Rajprasong, which is part of Bangkok's business center.

During the press conference on the night of April 29, a reporter
asked Jatuporn whether he had photos to back up his claim. In
return, Jatuporn not only avoided direct answers but also showed
his furious contempt at the reporter. He even challenged and
threatened the journalist to join the protesters in going to the
hospital to find out the truth. This is an act of intimidation
against journalistic works and an attempt to hold the media hostage
to the Red-Shirt invasion of the hospital.

Also, because the said press conference--aired by the UDD leaders
through amplifiers in the rally site--was heard by the majority of
the protesters, Jatuporn virtually provoked the Red Shirts to raid
the hospital.

Given this situation, TJA and TBJA urge the UDD to cease such acts
and urge all UDD leaders to stop threatening the media workers, as

1. Media workers are not a contesting party to the UDD protesters
and adhere to the principles of impartiality and social
responsibility. Therefore, we urge the leaders and the protesters
to cease any action that is perceived as threatening or
intimidating to the media and instigating violence;

2. We urge UDD leaders to find an alternative approach to the
broadcast of press conference via amplifiers because under this
setting, media workers could not only work freely but also feel
threatened by the surrounding crowd of protesters and by their
jeers every time the reporters asked questions the protesters did
not like, which is an abuse of media's rights;

Finally, both organizations would like to give moral encouragement
to all media workers during this time of crisis and urge all media
organizations to treat the safety of journalists as their priority.

Thai Journalists Association
Thai Broadcast Journalists Association

30 April 2010