Media leaders decry sensationalist news shows
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Media leaders decry sensationalist news shows

Content that dramatises conflict and violence can violate human rights, seminar told

Media industry leaders have stepped up their criticism of news programmes that fuel social conflicts and drama in order to drive up ratings.

They argue that such shows — which they claim account for two-thirds of all news programmes — violate human rights, especially those of children.

The views were expressed at a recent seminar held by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

NBTC commissioner Pirongrong Ramasoota said the offending programmes focus on stories about crime, violence, sexual matters, disputes, supernatural beliefs, unusual and scandalous events and other issues, presented in a dramatic and emotional fashion to attract audiences.

According to Ms Pirongrong, they are tied to social inequality and usually feature face-to-face debates between two people who are in dispute.

She said such programmes account for as much as two-thirds of news content these days, citing figures in a survey conducted by Media Alert.

A project established by the Office of the Thai Media Fund, Media Alert aims are to analyse media conditions, social media exposure and media usage behaviour and report its findings to the public.

Sensationalised news programmes often target marginalised groups, said Ms Pirongrong.

“This underscores existing social inequality while presenting physical violence to emphasise structural violence,” she said.

Santi Kiranand, an adviser to the Minister of Social Development and Human Security, said the ministry aims to protect the rights of young people, women, the disabled, the elderly and those who are sexually diverse, as they are usually inappropriately portrayed in these news programmes in a way that promoted negative attitudes towards them.

He emphasised the need for the media to avoid abusing their rights and freedoms to violate the rights of others.

Supinya Klangnarong, who chairs the Telecoms and ICT subcommittee of the Thailand Consumers Council, said legal mechanisms and better self-regulation by the media industry are required to solve the problem.

She urged the NBTC to promote an agenda to minimise news stories that affect children.

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