KHON KAEN (AFP): More than 100 Thai journalists have started a government-funded weapons training course in a northeastern province where several reporters have been killed, police said today. There are 111 members of the press, including 13 women, on the course. It is teaching them how to fire several types of guns, said police Lt Col Montri Jaranpong of the northeastern province of Khon Kaen where the course is being held. The purpose is to enable reporters to protect themselves against harassment, physical threats, and ‘dark influences’, he said. Northeastern Thailand is renowned for its mafia activities and is a difficult place for journalists to work. Many have been threatened, assaulted and killed. The government is covering all expenses for the journalists — most of whom have never touched a gun before. After completion of their weapons training, the reporters, who come from all areas of the media, will show off their new skills at a shooting competition on August 4.
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