Time for a free media

Time for a free media

Not long ago, Thailand was praised around the world for the freedom and independence of its media. It never was perfect, but in the days that the nation was truly aspiring to be a democracy, newspapers and broadcasters spoke truth to power. Foreign journalists set up regional headquarters in Thailand because it was so much more tolerant of a free press than any neighbour. Last week came yet another of the constant reminders that Thai press freedom has halted, if only temporarily.

Last Thursday was World Press Freedom Day, as designated by Unesco, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This day was once celebrated in Thailand. Now it only is marked, sometimes even angrily. As they have for each of the past four years, media organisations, print and broadcast, unanimously called on the regime to ease up on restrictions. Every anniversary of the May 22, 2014, coup, is a sad reminder of the restrictions on media and speech, including possible prosecution used to censor.

For the fourth straight year, the military explained that honest reporters, broadcasters and editors have nothing to fear. Thailand is lucky, said army colonel and official junta flakman Col Winthai Suvaree, to have a benevolent controller. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and security forces ensure the media only reports vital news, without causing alarm or unrest.

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Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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