Police face pressure on media arrests

Media groups are demanding an investigation into the incident in which at least three media photographers were allegedly beaten by riot police during the Pitak Siam rally on Saturday.

  • Published: 29/11/2012 at 05:46 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Photo by Post Today

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association on Thursday submitted a letter to national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew demanding he order an investigation into the incident and disclose its findings. Members of the press must be included in an investigation committee, according to the letter.  

ASTV Manager photographer Santi Tehpia, Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS) cameraman Pattanasak Woradej and T-News Agency cameraman Tossarit Wattanarat said police allegedly beat and locked them up in a riot-police van after tear gas was thrown at protesters who were trying to break down barricades at Makkhawan Rangsan bridge on the morning of the rally.

The three said they tried to convince officers they were on-duty media personnel and showed them their press ID cards but this was ignored. They were released after fellow reporters looked for them and vouched for their identities. The group suffered cuts and bruises. Their television and still cameras and computer notebook were also damaged. 

National police spokesman Piya Uthayo earlier said that during the clash, several protesters claimed to be press but failed to show their IDs. He suggested, without elaborating that: “Signs to identify media staff must be made clearer [in the future]”.  

The media groups want the Royal Thai Police to pay compensation for media workers who were affected by police officers’ "use of excessive force" during the Pitak Siam mass protest. 

They also called on the RTP to draw up regulations on police work procedures in dealing with media staff in political assemblies. Representatives from media organisations must be allowed to participate in drafting the new regulations which must be agreed by both parties.

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