CNN visas revoked, charges pending over 'unethical' coverage

CNN visas revoked, charges pending over 'unethical' coverage

Uthai Sawan official: 'Give us respect'

A CNN team is seen on Saturday climbing over the fence of the childcare centre in Na Klang district of Nong Bua Lamphu, the main crime scene of the massacre. (Photo: A Thai journalist via @FCCThai Twitter account)
A CNN team is seen on Saturday climbing over the fence of the childcare centre in Na Klang district of Nong Bua Lamphu, the main crime scene of the massacre. (Photo: A Thai journalist via @FCCThai Twitter account)

The Immigration Bureau has withdrawn visas issued for two CNN reporters after they entered the off-limits childcare centre where a mass shooting took place to report on the story.

Immigration Bureau deputy commissioner Achayon Kraithong said on Sunday the visas for the two crew members had been revoked on the grounds that they were not eligible to work in the country.

They entered Thailand on tourist visas which did not allow them to work in the country, he said. The two could face other charges, added Pol Maj Gen Achayon, who is the police spokesman.

The officer referred to reporter Anna Coren, 47, an Australian citizen, and cameraman Daniel Hodge, 34, a British national. The two arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Thursday and were permitted to stay until Nov 19 as tourists. The two have not left the country, he added.

Ms Coren and Mr Hodge were assigned to cover the massacre at the daycare centre of the Uthai Sawan Tambon Administration Organisation on Thursday. They trespassed the crime scene and reported from inside the building, where 24 children had been murdered. The picture of the two climbing over the fence from the centre went public on Saturday.

CNN later on Sunday said it had removed the report from its website but it stopped short of an admission of wrongdoing.

"We deeply regret any distress or offense our report may have caused, and for any inconvenience to the Thai police at such a distressing time for the country," Mike McCarthy, executive vice president and general manager of CNN International said.

It still insisted that the reporters entered the centre "in good faith" with the permission, although it learned later that the officials who gave them the access had no authority.

CNN's coverage and intrusion into the cordon area have drawn ire from the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and Thai Journalists Association.

CNN said their reporters were allowed to go inside.

The child nursery was under the Uthai Sawan Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) in Na Klang district of Nong Bua Lamphu

'Give us respect'

Uthai Sawan TAO president Danaichoke Boonsom filed complaints at the Na Klang police station accusing the two of trespassing state offices. "Give us respect," he said after coming out of the police station. "What did you do that for?"

Na Klang police chief Pol Col Jakkapat Vijitvaithaya said police would press the trespassing charge against the two and they would officially be informed about the charge.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakpan said on Saturday that there would possibly be more charges against the two.

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