Embattled TV anchor Sorayuth Suthassanachinda and Channel 3 keep on pretending that nothing is amiss even though the National Anti-Corruption Commission decided after a four-year investigation to take criminal action against him for allegedly embezzling 138.79 million baht in advertising money and the Thai Journalists Association has decided that he violated journalistic ethics even though his case has yet to be decided by the courts.
I agree with Securities and Exchange secretary-general Vorapol Socatiyanurak statement displayed on the Post's front page yesterday: ''Ethics is critical for anyone within the media, given its influence within society.'' Yet many sponsors and viewers of Sorayuth's show are pretending that the elephant in the room doesn't exist.
I suggest that to gain the reasoned cooperation of all parties and help us fight corruption in general, the issue should be debated and the debates should be publicly televised. These debates, broadcast live, will stimulate public awareness of and involvement in this crucial issue of corruption, with the agreed-upon ground rule that each side will seek to shed light, not heat, on the issue. On the one hand, those against the motion could point out that prosecutors are still deliberating whether to accept the case against Sorayuth or not, and the principle that the accused is innocent until proven guilty must hold. But on the other hand, taking precautionary action to limit possible damage is not only legal but common. For example, courts routinely refuse to grant bail; Nike and many other advertisers terminated contracts with Lance Armstrong when they became convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the centre of a doping ring in his legendary cycling team; and Pennsylvania State University fired its then-president Graham Spanier for allegedly covering up the Sandusky sexual abuse scandal despite the jury having not yet weighed in on Mr Spanier's guilt or innocence.
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