Amnesty International Thailand organised the 2017 Media Awards on Thursday 25th January 2018 at the Sukosol Hotel, Bangkok. The four award categories covered print media, online media, and television.
Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Chair of Amnesty International Thailand, explained that the event was organised out of respect for the role of the media in observing human rights principles and creating human rights awareness in our society. The event honoured and supported all the media in Thailand by giving awards to outstanding reports relating to human rights and humanity in general. This event also encouraged the media to continue presenting stories that not only protect and respect, but also promote human rights.
Pornpen noted that the panel of judges for the awards brought together leading experts in human rights and the media. The winners of the Media Awards 2017 were as follows:
In the print category, First Prize with a plaque and 30,000 baht prize was awarded to the Bangkok Post for its article “Too Little, Too Late for Lahu Traumatized by Youth's Killing.” An Honorable Mention with a plaque and 10,000 baht prize was given to the Daily News for its article “Returning Thai Nationality to Displaced People.”
In the category of online media, joint First Prizes with plaques and 30,000 baht prizes were awarded to the101.world for its article “Anwar, Pattani and the River full of Crocodiles” and Prachatai for its article "Sex and Love in Thailand’s Male Prisons.” Honorable Mentions with plaques and 10,000 baht prizes were given to Thairath.com for its article “From Cambodia to Pattaya: Beggars and Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia,” and Detectteam.com for its article “The Journey of Rising Young Activists.”
In the category of television reports of less than 20 minutes, First Prize with a plaque and 30,000 baht prize was awarded to PPTV for its report “Army Conscript Beaten to Death inside Military Camp.” Honorable Mentions with plaques and 10,000 baht prizes were given to Work point for its report “Molesting, Sexual Harassment and the Silence of Women’s Rights,” to Thai PBS for its report “Rohingya, the No Land’s Man,” and Spring News for its report “The Killing of a Young Lahu Activist.”
In the category of television program less than 60 minutes, First Prize with a plaque and 30,000 baht prize were awarded to Thai PBS for its report “Our Homes, Whose Ownership?” on the program True Stories Beyond Fiction. Honorable Mentions with plaques and 10,000 baht prizes were given to Voice TV for its report “Bloodstained Childhood” on the program Frontline, and PPTV for its report “King of the Forest” on the program Initial Substance.
The award winners received their awards from Prof Vitit Muntarbhorn, former UN Special Rapporteur, the first UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the winner of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. Speeches on “Thanks to the internet, is everyone now a journalist?” were given by Sarinee Achavanuntakul, a prominent writer, blogger, and social critic; and Pipope Panitchpakdi, Thai PBS Deputy Director-General.
In her closing remarks, Pornpen recognised the excellent work of the media in uncovering human rights violations, holding abusers to account, and telling difficult stories in more engaging ways.