The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) expressed its concerns after the Thai police threatened to arrest journalists covering protests after the 21.00 curfew and issued a list of preconditions for journalists to be allowed to work after curfew which some will be unable to meet.
Nattapong Malee, a citizen journalist from Ratsadon News, was arrested while covering a protest at the Din Daeng Intersection on 13 September 2021
For coverage after curfew, the police are requiring journalists to present a letter requesting coverage after curfew stamped by the Metropolitan Police, a press card issued by the Public Relations Department, and a letter of assignment from their news agency asking for post-curfew reporting.
The full statement reads:
FCCT STATEMENT ON THAI POLICE THREAT TO ARREST JOURNALISTS COVERING PROTESTS
The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand wishes to express its deep concern over a threat by the Royal Thai Police to arrest journalists caught covering protests after the 9pm curfew.
The police have issued a list of preconditions for journalists to obtain permission to report on the protests, which some will be unable to meet. The police want journalists to provide them with a letter requesting coverage after the curfew, stamped by the Metropolitan Police, a copy of a PRD press card, and a letter of assignment from their news agency asking for post-curfew reporting.
This is an onerous set of requirements for what should be routine media work. Some legitimate journalists do not have PRD-issued press cards, and some freelancers cannot get all these documents. It is unacceptable that journalists should face the threat of arrest and prosecution while doing their jobs, simply because they cannot meet all these bureaucratic conditions.
The FCCT urges the police to review their rules for post-curfew reporting, and to recognise that there are genuine journalists reporting on the streets who may not be able to get all the documents they are asking for, and who should not be arrested face any criminal charges.
17 September 2021