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Thailand’s media organisations issue joint statement in wake of political violence

Maya Taylor

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Thailand’s media organisations issue joint statement in wake of political violence | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / Youth Liberation - Free YOUTH

The 6 organisations that represent Thailand’s media have issued a joint statement, calling on all sides in the current political conflict to show restraint. The statement comes following ugly scenes at Saturday’s anti-establishment protest in Bangkok. At least 33 people were injured near Sanam Luang, including police officers and journalists. Police officers used tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse activists who were allegedly attempting to dismantle barriers preventing them from reaching the Grand Palace.

The joint statement comes from 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.

According to a Thai PBS World report, the 6 organisations state that they oppose any form of violence, while stating that, under a democratic system, people have a right to peacefully protest without being confronted with weapons or the use of force. The statement calls on the authorities to clearly inform protesters and media representatives in advance of the action they are about to take to disperse protests, so that violence can be avoided.

The statement also calls on media organisations to follow the guidelines for working in such situations in order to avoid being injured or killed, or having their equipment or vehicles damaged. They urge media agencies to guarantee the safety of staff members and to ensure they have adequate protective gear. They also say reporters at protesters should adopt arm bands that clearly show they are from the media, while still assessing whether or not it is safe to attend such rallies.

Following Saturday’s violent clashes, protesters and a number of academics have criticised the police response, calling on all sides to use peaceful means to resolve their differences. Meanwhile, the police have defended their actions, accusing protesters of resorting to violence first.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Slugger

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    ‘under a democratic system, people have a right to peacefully protest without being confronted with weapons or the use of force.’

    And in which idyllic state does this happen? America? Dont make me chuckle.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Hypocritical for some, at least, considering that the reporter from Khaosod English was very clearly telling protesters what to do to deliberately provoke an incident in one of his own “reports”.

  3. Avatar

    Pedro

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Slugger, you obviously support the Military Government, and it is your right to peacefully express that support (especially if you are in a minority) without being physically attacked. In a democracy, to maintain a fair balance, it is also the right for others who do not support the Junta to peacefully do the same. It is the job of the police to facilitate that same right for both sides, not to attack them. If it were a pro-Government rally, then would the police turn up in riot gear and attack those attending? I believe the answer would be no. So they should adopt the same approach for anti-government demonstrations whilst preparing for the worst. Knowing how to peacefully police a demonstration is an intricate skill that Thai Police Commanders do not appear to possess, because if you openly set up for a fight then you will get one (check out the Betari Box model of attitude and behaviour). Allowing police officers to chase down individual protesters to beat them with batons is not the way to go. You do not uphold the law by breaking the law yourself, and randomly beating someone is against the law as it goes beyond the use of the reasonable force allowed to maintain order, especially if you actually start the fight in the first place.

  4. Avatar

    Pedro

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    It seems that The Thaiger have stopped publishing my comments. Recently I have posted a few which have never made it and one was published and then removed. So much for supporting freedom of speech. If this one is posted and not my other one, then I will know for sure.:) 🙂

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Monday, March 22, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      We don’t believe any of your comments have been deleted. We are checking into it.

  5. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 7:41 pm

    Australia new Zealand and many other Asian countries
    USA full of strange people very violent nature cannot compare USA with these countries

    Where is the democratic system in Thailand idiot ..it is a Police state ..LIke Nazi Germany
    or communist China
    Good Luck Thailand

  6. Avatar

    Pedro

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Ahhhh, we have lift-off.

  7. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 11:44 am

    These timid statements from Thailand Media are pitiful.
    Speak up, tell the truth, or shut up.

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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Myanmar

Burmese refugees are being aided, PM Prayut assures

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Burmese refugees are being aided, PM Prayut assures | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: PM Prayut Chan-o-Cha

Burmese refugees along the Thai-Myanmar border are being provided with humanitarian assistance according to a statement by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday. PM Prayut spoke about the growing crisis at Government House Wednesday after a cabinet meeting. He said that the two countries, since they are neighbouring, need to be in agreement and work together and Thailand can’t take sharp independent action. He believes the problem must be addressed diplomatically.

The remarks come in defence of growing concern that the Thai government is not doing enough to help Burmese refugees affected by the military crackdown. PM Prayut pointed out that there’s already a government body in place designed to address and handle issues along the border, called the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t care when speaking in terms of humanitarian affairs because it is about human lives. The government has suggested guidelines to solve [the crisis] via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN which will have a meeting shortly. We must solve the problem systematically. Because our two countries are next to each other, we can’t take decisions by ourselves. As for violence, we disagree [with it].”

The Immigration Bureau Chief estimates there are about 2,000 Burmese refugees currently in the Mae Hong Son province. Several Burmese refugees have even been treated within Thailand after being injured fighting inside the Myanmar border.

The issue is exacerbated by a dual crisis with the crackdown on protests following the Burmese coup and the expanding outbreak of Covid-19 transmission. Government officials are calling for cooperation along the border and in both countries to try to resolve the refugee crisis as well as contain Covid-19 outbreaks, which are currently on the rise again.

Six more checkpoints have been reopened in the meantime along the Thai-Burmese border since March. 46 of the 97 border openings are currently open with checkpoints in operation..

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Red Shirts leader vows to hold April 4 protest aimed at toppling government

Maya Taylor

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Red Shirts leader vows to hold April 4 protest aimed at toppling government | Thaiger
"Red shirt" protesters in Bangkok in 2010. PHOTO: Facebook / Matias Vilhena

The chairman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, whose supporters are commonly known as the Red Shirts, says he will lead a protest on April 4 with the aim of toppling the government. Jatuporn Promphan vows to take charge of what he’s calling a prolonged protest, to oust the administration of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

According to a Thai PBS World report, Jatuporn has remained on the sidelines since his release from prison in August 2016, more of an observer than a participant in the ongoing political protests. However, in a Facebook Live broadcast, he says the situation in Thailand has reached a critical point and he can no longer look on without acting. In yesterday’s live feed, he pledged to heed the call of Adul Khieuboriboon, leader of the relatives of the “Black May” victims. Up to 200,000 people took part in the 1992 Black May protest in Bangkok, which was an uprising against the military government of the day.

“The military crackdown resulted in 52 government-confirmed deaths, hundreds of injuries including journalists, over 3,500 arrests, hundreds of disappearances, and eyewitness reports of a truck filled with bodies leaving the city. Many of those arrested are alleged to have been tortured.”– Wikipedia.

Jatuporn says the April 4 protest will be similar to the Black May event, which saw people of all political sides join forces to fight dictatorship. He admits that the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is no longer seen as a credible political presence in Thailand and that many politicians dismiss the idea that he could attract a mass following. However, he still hopes that a variety of people with differing political views and ideologies will join Sunday’s rally.

He says the PM is to blame for the country’s problems and must be removed from office if things are to improve for Thailand and its people.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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