Thai TV interference slammed by media watchdogs
Rebecca Hawkes
| 12 May 2014
The escalating intimidation of broadcasters in Thailand following the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 8 May has been widely criticised by media watchdogs.

The government-run Channel 11 (NBT) reportedly moved its newsroom to a different location in anticipation of disturbance from protesters. However, five state-owned free-to-air TV channels were stormed on 9 May by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in an attempt to prevent them airing government-related news.

On the same day, the government's security agency the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), warned media executives they would face criminal charges if they agreed to only report PDRC statements.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) has slammed the actions by both sides in the escalating dispute, stating they are "a grave violation of the Thai Constitution's Section 45 on freedom and liberties of the people, stating that 'the prohibition of a newspaper or other mass media business from presenting information or expressing opinions in whole or in part or imposition of interference by any means in deprivation of the liberty under this section shall not be made except by virtue of the law'."

SEAPA has joined the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the Thai Journalists Association in calling on the political movement to stop intimidating the media.

In a statement SEAPA added "under no circumstance must any media personnel or news organisation be forced to report in favor of one side or the other. Instead, state and non-state actors must uphold the editorial independence of the media, guaranteed under the Constitution, and allow them to use their own judgment to publish information in the interest of the public."

At least 25 people have died during six months of protests between the government supporters (known as 'red shirts') and the PDRC opposition ('yellow shirts') who wants the elected government replaced by a people's council. inShare2