A reporter with the Thai-language daily newspaper Matichon and a stringer for the
army-owned television station Channel 7, Athiwat was found dead in his home in
the town of Chaiyamontri in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Police investigators quoted in the local media said the
reporter was shot twice, in the back and in the head, and that his murder took
place while he was cooking in his kitchen at home at around
Editor Kaweesak Bhutton told CPJ that the newspaper considered the slaying to be
work-related. Athiwat had told Kaweesak that influential officials in Nakhon
Si Thammarat province were “dissatisfied” with his reporting on local
corruption issues. In the weeks leading up to the slaying, safety concerns
had led Athiwat to avoid leaving the house except for reporting assignments, Kaweesak said.
The Thai Journalists Association, a local press freedom group, also said in a
statement that Athiwat’s murder was likely related to his recent reporting.
Athiwat’s wife and son were not home at the time of the
killing, local news reports said. Nakhon Si Thammarat is known for drug
trafficking and a high crime rate. Apart from the insurgent-hit areas in
southernmost provinces, it has one of the highest murder rates per capita in