After the news about Nattaya made headlines in the Thai media, Thai PBS backtracked on its decision, stating that Nattaya did not do anything wrong according to journalistic ethics and pointed out that the junta should not overlook public participation, which is crucial for reform.
On the same day, this statement drew official support from the Thai Journalists Association (TJA), which for the first time called on the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to rescind Announcements No. 97 and 103, and lift martial law to allow more media freedom. In July, the TJA only “expressed concerns
” over Announcement No. 97.
Announcement No. 97 states that the authorities can shut down any media, whether print, television, radio or online, if it disseminates information deemed threatening to the monarchy or national security, or criticises the work of the NCPO. The NCPO issued Announcement No. 103 to amend Announcement No. 97 after it was criticized by media professionals. 103 states that criticism is prohibited only if it is made with dishonest intentions using false information. Also, if any media professional breaches Announcement No. 97, the case will be forwarded to a professional council for ethical investigation.
Although these expressions and statements against the coup-makers are undoubtedly courageous, anti-coup Internet users questioned Nattaya and the TJA as they have never before made any statements against the junta.
To point out the inconsistency of the mainstream media, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a renowned anti-coup political scientist from Kyoto University wrote a satirical interview
Question: Could you explain how you were intimidated?
Nattaya: Well, I’ve been asleep since 22 May [the day when the coup d’état was staged] and just woke up for several days until I was intimidated. I can’t accept this. I’m a responsible member of the press, defending democracy. I would not let anyone to threaten us and our profession, so I invite other journalists to take part in a campaign to shut their eyes, mouths, and ears. It’s a powerful campaign, I did the same before…now I have to go back to sleep.
"It's been almost half year, and most of the media just realized that they don't have freedom?" tweeted
Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch in Thailand on Monday.