Three journalists shot and wounded in Thai demonstrations

New York, May 14, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the deteriorating security situation for reporters in Thailand as government forces and anti-government protesters exchange fire in the national capital. Three journalists were shot and injured on Friday when security forces and protesters exchanged fire that resulted in at least seven deaths and more than 100 injuries, according to local and international news reports.

Three bullets struck Nelson Rand, a Canadian reporter with France 24, in the arm, leg, and abdomen while he was reporting on the crackdown. Rand was in serious condition when he arrived at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Hospital, according to the reports. France 24’s Web site reported that Rand was recuperating after surgery in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

A photographer with the local-language Matichon newspaper was shot in the thigh while covering the crackdown and taken to Bangkok’s Bumrungrad hospital, according to the newspaper’s Web site. A cameraman with the local Voice TV satellite news broadcaster was shot in the leg and taken to Rama 9 hospital, according to local and international news reports. CPJ is working to identify the two reporters and their conditions. 

“Shootings underline the dangers for journalists covering this unfolding story in Bangkok,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “CPJ calls on both sides of the conflict to take measures to protect journalists and refrain from armed exchanges where reporters could be caught in the crossfire.”

Journalists are at rising risk as sections of Thailand’s capital city have been transformed into armed conflict zones in recent weeks. Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto was shot and killed by a high velocity rifle on April 10 while covering armed exchanges between protesters and security forces. CPJ is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

Editor’s note: The text of this alert was modified in the final paragraph to delete an erroneous reference to a CPJ report.