21 May 2010
Three media organizations, one each from the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, issued separate statements calling on the Thai government to ensure the protection and safety of journalists covering events in the Kingdom in the aftermath of the dispersal of the Red Shirt protesters and the subsequent rioting that broke out in Bangkok on 19 May 2010. The three organizations, founding members and an associate member of SEAPA, respectively, also called for the protection of free expression in order that journalists can effectively perform their tasks and Thais are given better access to information.
From the Thai Journalists Association (TJA):
Joint Statement of Media Professional Organizations on Threats against the Media during the Riots in Bangkok
This statement is in reference to the Center for Resolution of Emergency Situations’ order to use force to pressure protesters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on 19 May which prompted UDD leaders to end the protest and triggered waves of riots staged by some angry protesters including arson attacks on several state and private properties. We also note that during the clashes between the security forces and defiant protesters in this operation and ensuing riots, Italian photo-journalist Fabio Polenghi was shot dead in the crossfire while three other journalists from Britain, the Netherlands and Canada were injured.
From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR):
The Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) supports the call of media advocacy groups and other concerned sectors to spare media organizations and journalists from threats and attacks while covering the clashes between Thailand’s security forces and protesters. http://bit.ly/coopLS
From the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
The Centre for Independent Journalism, as an associate member in the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), urges the Thai Government to honour free media and protect journalists in Bangkok.
SEAPA (www.seapa.org) is the only regional organization with the specific mandate of promoting and protecting press freedom in Southeast Asia. It is composed of the Jakarta-based Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow if Information (ISAI); the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism; the Bangkok-based Thai Journalists Association; and the network’s Kuala Lumpur-based associate member, the Centre for Independent Journalism.