In southern Thailand, Time photographer wounded

New York, May 22, 2007—A freelance photographer on assignment for Time magazine in insurgency-hit southern Thailand was injured in a bomb blast today, according to news reports. Australian Philip Blenkinsop was among seven people injured by the improvised explosive device, which detonated in Yala province.

The bomb was planted near the body of a man who had been murdered by suspected Muslim rebels, according to local news reports. Blenkinsop suffered minor shrapnel injuries and was released from a local hospital after receiving treatment. Three police officers were also reported injured.

“We call on the various insurgent groups fighting against Thai authorities to refrain from attacking innocent civilians, including journalists,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “All sides of the conflict have a responsibility to uphold basic press freedoms.”

Blenkinsop is the first foreign journalist known to be injured in southern Thailand’s separatist insurgency, which has claimed more than 2,200 lives since it began in January 2004. In recent months, the security situation in the restive region has badly deteriorated despite government offers to reach an accommodation with rebel groups fighting for an independent state.