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Political divide, journalist ethics the biggest media stories of 2012

Political polarisation and ethical double standards were the two biggest media issues of 2012, according to the Thai Journalists Association.

Other issues were the move by newspapers into broadcasting, with media companies jumping into the burgeoning satellite television market, giving consumers more channels for news programmes.

However, the growth of satellite TV stations also causes concern about media ethics because some of the new news channels are clearly taking political sides.

Here are the five major stories from the media sector in 2012, according to the Thai Journalists Association:

l The 3G auction and the black screen - The 3G cellphone network saga reached its climax after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) awarded operating licences to three winners. The NBTC also weighed in on the black screen incident. Due to a copyright dispute, some cable television subscribers couldn't watch the Euro 2012 football matches and were greeted instead by black screens. The NBTC vowed to make sure this wouldn't happen again.

l War of words between a television reporter and a deputy PM - The Thai Journalists Association will keep a close eye on intimidation against the media following an incident in which Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung and Channel 7 reporter Somchit Nawakruasunthorn traded accusations.

Chalerm swore he wouldn't answer questions as long as Somchit was present, but he later changed his stance and gave interviews to the reporter.

l Photographers arrested - During the November 24 Pitak Siam political rally in Bangkok, police arrested three news cameramen, prompting the Thai Journalist Association to condemn police for violating media rights and file formal complaints.

l A media professional is under scrutiny - TV news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda came under pressure to quit his job after the National Anti-Corruption Commission accused his production company, Raisom, of embezzling advertising fees from MCOT.

l Facebook war - The increase of political and entertainment fan pages on the social-networking website has caused ethical problems, with posts causing uproars and those who post information refusing reveal their identities.


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