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Bangkok, April 17, 2014--A Thai court today formally charged two journalists for the local Phuketwan news website with criminal defamation, according to news reports. The charges were brought by a Thai navy official. 

Thailand's clampdown on press and Internet freedoms continued in 2013 as large anti-government street demonstrations undermined political stability. Broadcast journalists were threatened with arrest by authorities for live streaming protest speeches. At least two local and one foreign reporter were assaulted by protesters over perceived pro-government bias in their coverage. Authorities continued to crack down on coverage deemed critical of the royal family by sentencing newsmagazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to 11 years in prison and banning a political documentary on the grounds that its title could be construed as critical of the monarchy. Amid an outcry, the Ministry of Culture later lifted the censorship order, saying it had made a "technical mistake." Political cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanan faced defamation charges over comments he posted on Facebook about a speech Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made in Mongolia. The offices of his newspaper, Thai Rath, were later attacked by unknown assailants. Thai Public Broadcasting Service political editor Sermsuk Kasitpradit was investigated in connection with comments he made on Facebook speculating on a possible military coup. Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap then warned social media users that clicking "like" or sharing online comments deemed a threat to national security could be construed as criminal acts punishable by imprisonment.

Bangkok, January 21, 2014--The state of emergency imposed today by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra threatens to curb media coverage of recent anti-government protests in the national capital, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. The decree was passed in the wake of a double grenade attack on the site of a protest on Sunday that injured a Thai reporter, among 27 other citizens, according to local press reports.

Anti-government protesters occupy a major intersection in central Bangkok on January 13. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

For the past several weeks journalists and media organizations in Thailand have been preparing for a fresh round of confrontation between anti-government protesters and government security forces. An attempt to paralyze the nation's capital through a protester-led, month-long shutdown began today.

Bangkok, December 20, 2013--The Royal Thai Navy should immediately drop the criminal defamation charges lodged on Wednesday against two journalists in connection with a report on alleged military abuses of ethnic Rohingya people, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A photographer wears a gas mask to cover the anti-government protest in Bangkok. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Bangkok, December 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on both Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government and opposition groups to respect the role of the press in the lead-up to elections scheduled for February 2. Both sides have failed to uphold basic press freedoms as anti-government protests have intensified in recent weeks, CPJ said today.

Bangkok, October 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the recent roadside bomb attack that injured five reporters in southern Thailand and calls on both sides of the region's insurgent conflict to refrain from attacks that imperil journalists.

Bangkok, August 9, 2013--A Thai journalist has been harassed and questioned today in connection with comments he posted to his personal Facebook page in early August that speculated about a possible military coup, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Thai authorities to drop the criminal investigation against Sermsuk Kasitpradit and to refrain broadly from curbing freedom of expression over the Internet.

Diplomats are charged with promoting cordial and constructive ties between nations. But Chinese embassy officials in France and Thailand appear bent on fostering fear and disgust with recent efforts to harass and intimidate France 24 reporter Cyril Payen.

A memorial to Polenghi (Reuters)

EDITOR'S NOTE: A court in Thailand ruled today that Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was shot and killed by a bullet fired by a soldier during a government crackdown on street protesters on May 19, 2010.  The inquest ruling established the circumstances surrounding his death but failed to apportion blame to any individual military commanders or politicians in power at the time.

Elisabetta Polenghi, Fabio's sister, indicated after the trial that she will pursue criminal charges to bring those directly responsible for her brother's death to account. CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin was in attendance at today's verdict and at an evening press conference with Elisabetta Polenghi at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand. The following are excerpts of Crispin's statement at the press conference:

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Killed in Thailand

10 journalists killed since 1992

6 journalists murdered

6 murdered with impunity

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