Originally published on the TJA website on 19 December 2016.
Joint statement of six media professional organizations
Opposing the draft bill on the protection of media freedom, and promotion of media ethics and professional standards
Six Thai media organisations on Thursday presented the draft bill on the rights protection, ethical promotion and professional standards of media professionals to the media reform steering committee of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA). The professional media bodies asked the NRSA to consider its draft, which promotes the principle of self regulation and transparency, and also aims to protect the people from the violation by the media. The six media organizations are the National Press Council, the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand, the Thai Journalists Association, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the Online News Providers Association and the Thailand Cable TV Association. The six organisations oppose the NRSA’s draft which says permanent-secretary of four ministries are included as members of the national media council. Meanwhile, a media professional would need a license. These specifications in the long run could allow political intervention and affect the independence of the media. The organisations said in the cover letter of its version of the draft bill that the NRSA’s version was not based on the principles of the protection for the freedom of media professionals but on the principles of controlling the media using state powers to interfere in the media’s independent work. It was not in line with the principles of the Constitution draft that has passed the national referendum, which aims at allowing media self regulation which is free from state intervention. The proposed draft, on the other hand, will protect the freedom of the press and people’s freedom of expression in line with the intention of the Constitution.