Groups slam PDRC media 'bullying'
published : 10 May 2014 at 06:04
newspaper section: News
Media and human rights groups have called on the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to immediately cease intimidating the media.
Human Rights Watch representative Sunai Phasuk condemned the PDRC sieges of television channels 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11, which the protest group launched yesterday to demand more prominent coverage of its movements and statements.
It was also demanding that the television channels cease broadcasting any news from the government.
The PDRC on Friday began its “all-out final battle” rally — the latest of many similar last-ditch efforts to unseat the caretaker government — by occupying major government offices and laying siege to free-to-air television stations.
Mr Sunai said television audiences have the right to view news and information from all parties, and said no attempts should be made to intimidate the media into airing the agenda of only one particular party.
He expressed concern that if the television executives do not follow the PDRC’s demands and choose to be impartial in their reporting of the news, trouble would ensue and journalists may face violence at the hands of PDRC guards and protesters.
Mr Sunai said the public could show their disagreement with the PDRC's actions by posting their concerns on the Facebook pages of the TV stations or by contacting the stations directly.
The Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) echoed the Human Rights Watch statement, blasting the PDRC’s tactic of attempting to hijack media coverage of its movement.
The association said it strongly disagreed with the PDRC’s actions, saying they were attacking the fundamental right of media outlets to present facts without interference.
The association demanded the PDRC and demonstrators immediately immediately cease their tactics.
So far protesters have not entered any TV station buildings, but were camped out in front of the compounds of most stations.
The TBJA said the PDRC should respect the right of television stations to operate freely and to deliver useful information to the public.
The association reiterated that media outlets have the right to broadcast news and views from all parties in a straightforward and fair manner.
It said presentation of the political activities of both camps to the public was a crucial service and should not be impeded.