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NBTC to issue regulation banning media from showing images of suspects in the media

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will soon be asked by the Justice Ministry and the Department for the Protection of Rights and Liberties to come up with a regulation prohibiting the broadcast media from showing the images of suspects in the media.

Justice deputy permanent secretary Thawatchai Thaikhieu said presenting or parading the suspects before the media by the police or other law enforcement agencies is regarded as a violation of human rights in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The logic, he explained, is that the suspects are not yet the wrongdoers and if, later on, they are not indicted or they are found not guilty by the court, their reputation has already been tainted by the media and their families too are affected by the news presentation.

Citing an academic study, Mr Thawatchai said parading suspects before the media tends to have long-term ill effects on the society and to encourage the suspects to commit more serious offences.

He dismissed as unlikely the argument that the suspects themselves want to be paraded before the media as no suspects want to appear before the media to talk about their wrongdoings.

The deputy permanent secretary for justice cited a case in Spain in which a suspected offender won the court's acquittal and, later on, sued the media to demand them to remove his images from their files.

He explained that the prime minister's directive for the police not to parade suspects before the media did not mean that the media would be banned from presenting reports about the suspects' alleged offences.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)