The Nation



Trial by media murders human rights

I can think of no crime more likely to arouse public disgust and revilement than the abduction, rape and murder of an infant.

However, despite allegedly confessing, the man known only as Nui is still entitled to his day in court for a fair and impartial trial.

Nui has been effectively denied this basic human right because he has already been tried, convicted and all but sentenced by the Thai media, including online editions of newspapers, which in some cases have been even more explicit than the printed editions. These media reports have detailed his past criminal convictions, published his photograph from a Thai police public relations "photo-op", and a point-by-point list of other children he is alleged to have abducted, raped and murdered.

Two of the highest principles governing the conduct of human affairs are human rights and the rule of law. Thai media, especially leaders like The Nation, should be promoting these two principles. But all too often they are ignored when a good story comes along.

When this happens, we not only deprive the Nuis of this world their rights, we put our own rights and liberties in jeopardy.

Yes, this is a sensational case. But "sensational" and media "sensationalisation" carry two very different connotations.

David Brown


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