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Journalists urge coordinated social media protest

THE THAI Journalist Association’s rights and freedom protection panel has called for pro-democracy activists and media professionals to campaign against state interference in press affairs and any attempts to limit freedom of access to information by changing profile photos in Facebook and Twitter today at 9.09am simultaneously.

The panel statement said the shared banner would show a “symbol of resistance”.
The panel said they would continue to move against the media reform panel headed by Kanit Suwannet until their voices were heard.
Meanwhile four media representatives will today resign from the National Reform Steering Assembly’s (NRSA) subcommittee on print media reform to show their opposition to the proposed media regulation bill. 
Former chairman of the National Press Council of Thailand Chakkrit Permpool, who is a member of the subcommittee, said he and three other media members would quit the panel because the proposed media reform bill was aimed at restricting press freedom.
He said the subcommittee had spent a year listening to involved parties – including media, civic groups and academics – until they finalised the final draft bill, which promotes media roles and duties and stipulates self-regulation. However, the NRSA’s media reform committee changed the main content.
There is concern that the bill could restrict press freedom rather than protect it as its proponents have claimed. One of the concerns involves the so-called “media professional council”, which would consist of 13 members including four permanent secretaries from the finance, culture and digital economy ministries plus the PM’s Office. 
“We [the media] oppose the bill not because we are trying to protect our rights, but because this bill is trying to restrict freedom of information access. In the end, it will affect information that the public should get,” Chakkrit said.
Alongkorn Polaboot, the vice president of NRSA, said the assembly had no intention of controlling the media and actually wanted the media to be free from state interference and monied interests. 

Published : February 01, 2017