CPJ concerned about newspaper office grenade attack

New York, January 31, 2007—Thailand’s army-appointed government should fully investigate a grenade attack on the Thai-language Daily News, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A grenade exploded in the office compound of the mass circulation newspaper around 1:30a.m. on Tuesday, local media reported. Another explosive device went off in the parking lot of an adjacent hotel. No one was injured and damage was slight.

No group has taken responsibility for the attacks.

“We condemn this attack on the Daily News,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “We call on the government to vigorously investigate this incident to demonstrate its commitment to protecting journalists.”

Thailand’s print media are increasingly caught in the middle of growing political conflict. Earlier this month, the Nation Group, which publishes several Thai and English language newspapers and also runs a television station, was forced to evacuate its Bangkok offices after receiving an anonymous bomb threat. The threat came soon after bombs killed three people and injured 40 across Bangkok on New Year’s Eve. No one has been arrested in connection with those bombings.

Since last September’s military coup, Thai authorities have frequently moved to censor the broadcast media, including an order to close down over 300 provincial community radio stations perceived to be loyal to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. So far there have been no reported incidents of direct government harassment or censorship of the print media.