Thailand’s six media organizations issued a joint statement today (Sunday), urging all parties in the current political conflicts to exercise restraint, following a violent protest Saturday night, at and around Sanam Luang, during which the police, protesters and some media representatives were injured.
The six media organizations are the National Press Council, the Thai Journalists Association, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the Online News Providers Association, the News Broadcast Council of Thailand and the National Union of Journalists Thailand.
The media organizations said that they disagree with violence in all forms, citing the protest by the anti-establishment ReDem group on Saturday night, which led to clashes between the police and the protesters and eventual use of water cannons, teargas and rubber bullets, causing injuries to several reporters and photographers.
The media groups maintain, however, that people have the right, under a democratic system, to protest peacefully, without provocation, weapons or the use of force.
They said the police must take action, step by step, when dispersing protests and must clearly inform the protesters and the media in advance about the steps to be taken, to avoid violence.
The media organizations said that the media themselves must strictly follow the set guidelines about working under crisis situations, to avoid physical injury, death or damage to their equipment or vehicles.
They also called on media agencies to ensure the safety of their staff members and to equip them with appropriate protective gear, while recommending that reporters covering protests wear arm bands, to show that they are members of the media, but they should assess the risk nonetheless.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)