News anchor Sorayuth Suthassanachinda should show responsibility after an anti-graft agency's ruling that he embezzled money from state-run media outlet Mcot Plc, a seminar was told.
Anti-corruption advocates and academics said the public should put pressure on Channel 3 and its high-flying anchor to step down while the matter is before the courts.
Speaking at a seminar on the case organised by the Thai Journalists Association yesterday, Pramon Sutheewong, president of the anti-corruption network, said if members of the media profession are involved in corruption, they should consider showing social accountability.
He said their employers should also consider taking action against them if their actions endanger the reputation of their organisations.
Media expert Seree Wongmontha said media members must always think of how their actions affect society.
If they fail to do so, they should leave the media. Professionalism must come with ethics, he said.
"When politicians are accused of corruption, journalists often demand they be suspended from their jobs.
"When you become the suspects, why shouldn't you be treated the same way?" Mr Seree said, adding that if Channel 3 turns a blind eye to the case, it could be deemed complicit in improper practices.
Somkiat Onwimol, a former senator and well-known former television anchorman, said Sorayuth is both a businessman and a presenter.
Mr Somkiat said Sorayuth should leave the show until the matter is decided in the justice system.
But if Sorayuth insisted on presenting the show while fighting any charges to be heard against him in court, the onus is on the public to pressure him to show responsibility. Sponsors also must consider withdrawing their support, Mr Somkiat said.
Economist Sangsit Piriyarangsan, who studies international corruption practices, said the Sorayuth case should not be considered only in its legal aspects. Professional ethics should also be taken into account.
TV Channel 3 should act to show social accountability, Mr Sangsit said.
Sorayuth continues to front his morning news programme despite the NACC finding last month that he and other Mcot staff conspired to withhold 138 million baht in advertising revenue sharing from Mcot seven years ago. Sorayuth has insisted on his innocence.
About the author
- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa