UPDATE: NCPO halts media event

UPDATE: NCPO halts media event

The Thai Journalists Association on Thursday urged the military council to review its decision to ban a media freedom survey in Thailand by a respected German non-governmental organisation.

Citing the "sensitive nature" of the work, the National Council for Peace and Order ordered Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), which operates in more than 100 countries, not to launch its 2014 Asian Media Barometer Thailand.

FES had planned to hold a press conference at VIE Hotel Bangkok on Friday to announce the launch of the work, which covers other parts of Asia as well.

Later on Thursday, the TJA sent a message to the NCPO saying it should consider the consequences of its decision to ban the FES press briefing.

“It’s the launch of academic work on mass communications and the NCPO should thoroughly review its stance,” TJA spokesman Manop Thip-osod said.

“The obstruction of the FES event will have a negative effect on Thailand which is being closely watched by the international community."

Mr Manop said he expected the foundation’s media freedom report would eventually be released.

FES Thailand Office said on Thursday it had been contacted by military officials a day earlier requesting that the press briefing be cancelled.  

"We [received] a call from the government asking us to postpone the event indefinitely because of the sensitive nature of the topic and political climate within the country," said Thatsanavanh Banchong, FES's media and civic education officer.

The Asian Media Barometer is a periodical evaluation of media freedom by local stakeholders, supported by FES, in all major Asian countries.

Named after Germany's first democratically elected president, FES works to promote democracy and international understanding.

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