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The Nation reporter taken into custody

Soldiers keep tight security around the United States Embassy in Bangkok yesterday.

Soldiers keep tight security around the United States Embassy in Bangkok yesterday.

NMG EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CALLS ON MILITARY JUNTA TO RESPECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

THE NATION'S senior reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk yesterday morning reported to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and has been moved into custody to an unidentified military base.

Nation Multimedia Group |editor-in-chief Thepchai Yong called on the military junta to respect freedom of expression and the right for people to have access to information.

"Especially in times of crisis like this, people's access to information is very important. And the media have a crucial role to play in keeping the public informed through free and independent reporting," he said.

Thepchai said he strongly supported the call by Thailand's major media organisations for the junta to repeal all the orders issued in the aftermath of the coup that were restricting media freedom.

He also urged the military |to refrain from actions that were seen as intimidating the media.

Separately, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand issued a statement calling on the military government to respect freedom of expression and a journalist's right to work freely. It called for the release of detained journalists and the lifting of media restrictions.

On Saturday night, Pravit received a summons telling him to report at the NCPO by 10am yesterday.

Upon arriving at the Army's auditorium, he spent a few minutes giving an interview to foreign media while a few friends offered moral support.

Pravit then went inside the agency's compound with a lawyer and an officer from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who went inside to observe and returned about an hour later but didn't speak to the media.

Neither Pravit nor his lawyer have been available for comment since then.

The journalist was among of group of people summoned to report yesterday who were transported from the compound in vans at about 3pm.

Meanwhile, the NCPO will allow free-to-air television channels, radio and satellite stations and cable operators to broadcast normally after the situation returns to normal.

But 14 satellite stations that are deemed to present clearly biased information will remain off the air unless they guarantee the broadcasts will not create public confusion or disturb peace and order.

Army deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari yesterday said the NCPO had responded to calls by media organisations for the junta to allow the media to carry out its duties in accordance with their ethics and responsibilities.

Winthai said community radio stations that faced the axe because they did not possess an operating licence would not be allowed to resume broadcasts unless they got a licence from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunica-tions Commission.

The NCPO yesterday called |19 print editors to a meeting to |discuss the direction of news coverage in an "abnormal situation".

Meanwhile, US State Depart-ment deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a statement saying the US is increasingly concerned about actions the military has taken just a few days after it staged a coup.

"It has dissolved the Senate, detained a number of people, |called in some academics and |journalists, and continued to |restrict the press. We again call |on the military to release those detained for political reasons, |end restrictions on the media, |and move to restore civilian rule |and democracy through elections," the statement said.


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