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Media personnel to rally against “gag” bill on Sunday

Members of the Thai media are to rally at the Thai Journalists Association this coming Sunday at 11 am in a show of force to demonstrate their strong opposition to a bill introduced by the National Reform Steering Assembly supposedly to protect the right and freedom and to promote the standard of media professionals.

The planned show of force to reject the bill is in response to the call of ten media organizations which met on Tuesday at the TJA office to discuss their strategy against the bill.

The ten organizations include TJA, the Press Association, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the Provincial Press Association, the Thai Photographers Association, the Sports Reporters Association and the National Press Council.

Confederation of Thai Journalists president Thepchai Yong said the media organizations concluded that the bill was not based on the principle of protecting the rights and liberty of media professionals. On the contrary, he said the bill sought to pave the way to allow the state to interfere with the independent performance of duty of media personnel in a way which does not correspond with the spirit of the Constitution.

The bill seeks to establish a national press council to regulate all media personnel. The council is empowered to grant licenses to media personnel and to revoke their licenses.

The proposed national press council will be represented by members of four ministries.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)