Reporters to be trained to aid reform
Prominent social thinker Prawase Wasi has thrown his support behind a proposal to set up an institute aimed at training members of the media to ensure they are not influenced by politicians or big business.
The idea was among a range of issues relating to media reform efforts discussed at a meeting attended by executives of media professional organisations.
They included the National Press Council of Thailand, the Thai Journalists Association, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the Isra Institute and the Thai Press Development Foundation.
Mr Prawase said media professional bodies should hold a regular forum to brainstorm ideas on how to improve the quality of those working in the industry to keep pace with changes, including the rapid development of social media.
The media should gather knowledge and information on policy-making, he said, while suggesting that a strategy be drawn up to improve their reporting and achieve positive social change.
"The media associations should hold a forum once a week and invite experts to discuss various policies such as energy and transport so as to formulate new ideas for the betterment of society,'' Mr Prawase said.
"Universities in our country have focused only on academic matters, not policy-making."
If reporters constantly strive to enlarge their knowledge base, approach an issue from all angles and maintain their independence it will help foster positive change in the country, Mr Prawase said.
An institute to train at least 1,000 reporters to a high standard will be set up in three years, he predicted. No details were available on who would fund it.
Mr Prawase also said communication technologies are playing a key role in connecting people and social media has often been used to spread false information rapidly.
Thepchai Yong, president of the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, said in recent years the mainstream media has been criticised for reporting the news irresponsibly and contributing to social conflict, issues the regime has exploited to control the media. Mr Thepchai stressed the need for the media to form closer alliances with academics and the civil sector.
"Giving hints on lottery numbers and picking up on nonsense ... only leads the public to question the role of the media, while the media believes this is the only way they can survive," Mr Thepchai said.