freedom of the press
The Administrative Court has ruled that the 15-day suspension of outspoken Voice TV is invalid, and given the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) 30 days to consider an appeal. Suspension on Voice TV
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) strongly condemns the killing of 28-year-old journalist Shantanu Bhowmik on 21 September 2017. At the time of his murder, he was working for Din Raat, a local television channel in Tripura. He was covering a protest and roadblock by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) in Mandai village near Agartala in West Tripura.
Media professionals and human rights advocates have called on the regime to stop using the sedition law to instil an environment of fear and silence its critics. On 3 August 2017, members of the press and human rights advocates gathered at the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) in Bangkok for a public discussion on the use of Article 116 of the Criminal Code, the sedition law.
The Cambodian government has launched over the past 3 weeks a systematic attack aimed at silencing independent media in the country with at least six media outlets being shutdown, forced off the air, or facing closure. One daily newspaper, two foreign media services and three local radio stations have been targeted in the clampdown.
Military and police officers have prevented journalists from attending a forum on the controversial national park and wildlife protection bills, claiming that their presence could affect the image of the junta.
A provincial court has dismissed a defamation case filed by a mining company against a newspaper who reported on its environmental abuses, after realising that an identical case is already being heard in another province. On 12 June 2017, the Roi Et Provincial Court ruled to dismiss a defamation case submitted by the mining company Myanmar Phongpipat against Pratch Rujivanarom, a journalist from The Nation newspaper, and the newspaper itself.
A Thai mining company operating in Myanmar has filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against a Thai journalist for reporting alleged environmental damage. On 14 May 2017, Reporters Without Borders, journalists, and civil society groups from Thailand and Myanmar issued a joint statement to support Pratch Rujivanarom, a Nation Multimedia Group journalist. The group demands that Myanmar Pongpipat Co Ltd (MPC), a Thai mining company operating in Myanmar, withdraw lawsuits filed against Pratch and The Nation.
The police have arrested the host of a TV programme exposing irregularities in food supplies to a prison. On 9 May 2017, according the Manager Online police officers arrested Yutthiyong Limlertwathee, the 51-year-old host of the TV programme ‘Sapha Kafae, Sapha Prachachon’ on ASTV News 1 Channel, at a coffee shop in Wang Thonglang District of Bangkok.
It’s been more than 24 years since the media reform began in Thailand, but the state still refuses to give up its ownership of public frequencies. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissioners, over half of whom are military and police officers, has allowed state agencies to continue to own frequencies, and ignored the recommendations from an internal committee. To make matters worse, the NCPO recently made an order allowing state agencies to retain frequencies for further five years. Currently, the military still owns over 100 frequencies.
The YouTube channel of an anti-junta journalist who fled to the US after the 2014 coup d’état has been blocked from audiences in Thailand. On 20 April 2017, the YouTube channel ‘Jom Voice’ of Jom Petpradab, a veteran journalist now living in self-exile in the US, was found blocked. “[This channel] cannot be watched from your country!” reads the statement on YouTube.