Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) has issued a statement strongly opposed what it called media interference by the government over its request for the broadcast media to do scoop for each cabinet minister during the mobile cabinet meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima during Aug 21-22.
The Aug 17 statement by the broadcast media association came after the government spokesman Lt Gen Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, also acting director-general of the Public Relations Department on Tuesday (Aug 15) detailed guidelines for media's coverage of the mobile Cabinet meeting during Aug 21-22.
He invited representatives from TV stations to a meeting where he asked each station to provide scoops on each minister's activities during the trip.
TBJA said that such request is tantamount to an interference of the work of the broadcast media .
It also is very inappropriate for the media to work under its order and under the control of the government.
TBJA said the broadcast media has no duty to provide publicity for government's performances or any cabinet minister. Instead its duty is to produce and broadcast only news of public interest.
It voiced concern over the behaviour of the PRD director-general which might be considered a threat and interference of the media's right and freedom.
It strongly disagreed with his request for scoop for each cabinet minister.
However Lt-Gen Sansern made clear that as media representatives have already followed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha regularly to report his activities, the government therefore would like them to provide publicity for all cabinet ministers performing their duties during the trip.
He claimed that the task could not be undertaken and achieved only by the PRD.
He reiterated that his request for cooperation was not to regulate the media.
Commenting on the PRD's request, Prof Parichart Stapitanont, dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, said request for cooperation might be considered a restriction of the media freedom as the media contents never come under supervision in the past.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)