'Kom Chad Luek' has done enough, scholars say
Academics and readers of Kom Chad Luek daily agreed yesterday that the newspaper has done enough to redress the inappropriate reference to His Majesty the King in a recent report.
They also called on protesters from the Caravan of the Poor to forgive the newspaper.
About 2,000 angry protesters yesterday blocked the entrance to Nation Multimedia Group's office buildings to show their displeasure over the issue.
Kom Chad Luek, a sister publication of The Nation, ran an apology on its front page, submitted a request to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary asking for a royal pardon, and decided to stop publishing and distribution for five days (between today and Sunday and on April 8 and 9) as self-punishment. Its editor Korket Chantralertlak has resigned and the responsible news editor was replaced.
The report in question, which quoted anti-government protest leader Sondhi Limthongkul, appeared in last Friday's edition of the Thai-language Kom Chad Luek. Part of Sondhi's statement was excluded, leading to an incomplete quote.
Assoc Prof Sodsri Phao-inchan, dean of Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Mass Communications, said that Kom Chad Luek's actions to redress the mistake were more than was necessary.
"It is laudable for the paper to take its responsibility seriously and promptly, even before a court ruling. What it has done is more than what it should have done," she said.
Boonruang Manasurakan, a senior lecturer at Prince of Songkhla University, praised Kom Chad Luek for showing its remorse promptly. "This set an example for Thai society, as well as the government," he said.
Kom Chad Luek readers in the southern provinces yesterday said that by punishing itself and temporarily stopping publishing, the paper has shown its remorse over the matter. They also called on protesters from the Caravan of the Poor to forgive the paper.
The Campaign for Media Reform, in a statement issued yesterday, said the prompt action by Kom Chad Luek was sufficient.
"We view the mistake as unintentional. It could be caused by an attempt to race against time in reporting news amid the current confusing situation," said the statement. The group called on all parties concerned to avoid a confrontation.
Thepchai Yong, Nation Group editor, said Kom Chad Luek had shown its remorse for the mistake. He said what was worrying was that the issue could be abused for political gain.