Thai police defend response to Facebook clip of baby’s murder

PHUKET: Royal Thai Police yesterday defended their response to a horrific video clip of a father murdering his baby daughter (story here), that remained on Facebook Live for about 24 hours before it was removed.

Col Krissana Pattanacharoen, deputy national police spokesman, said the Technology Crime Suppression Division alerted the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society soon after learning about the video on Monday night, so that the ministry could ask Facebook to remove it.

Col Krissana blamed the delay partly on the time difference between Thailand and the US, where Facebook is headquartered and said that even in the US, it took seven to eight hours before similar content was removed from Facebook.

He said this was believed to be among the first cases of such a violent crime to be broadcast on Facebook.

Wuttisan Wongtalay, 20, recorded a video of himself hanging his 11-month-old daughter from the roof of an abandoned building in Nai Thon and then took his own life. He is believed to have been driven by jealousy, as he was afraid his wife would leave him for another man.

Col Krissana urged the public to help alert authorities about social media content they deemed inappropriate.

“We have only a handful of police officers on duty [to monitor online content] so we have to rely heavily on the public to keep us informed,” he said.

Police also plan to discuss how to expedite the removal of inappropriate content from social media following the incident, Col Krissana said. The focus would be on major forums such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, he said.

Meanwhile, the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand yesterday slammed unnamed news outlets that showed graphic images of the baby’s murder.

At least one major Thai daily newspaper printed an image of the murder-suicide on its front page on Tuesday, while several TV channels also aired segments of the video.

“The News Broadcasting Council of Thailand received complaints about reporting on the incident,” organization representatives said in a statement issued yesterday.

“Those reports were inappropriate,” it read, warning channels and newspapers against giving graphic coverage to similar crimes because they “may lead to copycats with the understanding that those actions will draw attention”.

Netizens expressed horror over the killing and said the coverage had gone too far.

“It was a news story, not a horror movie. Was it really necessary to release the sound bite?” one commentator wrote in the online forum Pantip, referring to audio played by some media from the Facebook Live stream.

— The Nation

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