FEER Journalists Permitted to Stay After Apology

[Original title: FEER Journalists Permitted to Stay Immigration Panel Days They Felt Remorse Source: Bangkok Post]

The two Far Eastern Economic Review journalists facing the threat of expulsion will be allowed to stay after all.

Immigration officials have reversed a decision to expel the journalists for a Jan 10 article alleging a poor relationship between the monarch and the prime minister.

Deputy interior permanent secretary Yongyuth Wichaidit said the immigration panel yesterday agreed unanimously to scrap the Feb 23 order revoking visas held by Bangkok bureau chief Shawn Crispin, an American, and British correspondent Rodney Tasker.

The pair had apologised and promised not to do it again, the panel said.

The Immigration Bureau and Interior Minister Purachai Piumsombun would be told of the ruling, which is final.

The reporters’ appeals were handled separately from a proposal by the immigration police to blacklist them, although that could now lapse.

Immigration Bureau commissioner Hemmaraj Tharithai, a panel member, said the pair would be able to stay on until their visas expired. Their conduct would not be taken into account should they ask for visa extensions.

However, the committee would not accept such an appeal from the pair again.

The immigration panel believed the journalists felt remorse for presenting inaccurate news unwittingly.

Government may axe shows to stop Democrat attacks

Television programmes funded by the Election Commission could be cut back because the Democrats are using them to attack the government.

Suthichai Chan-arak, member of parliament for the New Aspiration party, said the Democrats turned special programmes on TV5 into a forum for criticising the government.

The poll panel funded the shows, in which parties said how they had put policies to work over the last year.

But the Democrats used them to attack the government, Mr Chutichai said.

PM’s Office Minister Thammarak Issarangkura na Ayuthaya said he would ask the commission to stop politicians abusing the programmes.

“I’ll see to it that the programme will be more restricted so that it will no longer be run in such a way. TV executives dare not touch the politicians,” said Gen Thammarak.

Democrat MP Satit Wongnongtoey said his party was merely judging the government’s performance.