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New entry rule at Government House turns away old time journalist

Long time Government House journalist Mrs Yuwadee Tunyasiri was today banned from entering Government House to cover government news as usual when a new regulation regarding security measures came into effect.

The measures were introduced to restrict entries by media representatives to cover news of the prime minister, and daily news events at Government House.

Under the new security regulation, media representatives stationed at Government House to cover news, are allowed to use only Gate 1 to enter the compound of Government House.

Journalists entering the Government House this morning were required to bring their identification cards (ID) issued by the Office of the Spokesman of the Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office to exchange for temporary entry cards as their ID cards are going to expire end of December this year.

The Office of the Spokesman has earlier notified all news offices which have their journalists stationed at Government House to issue documents to certify the journalist status of their employees two months in advance before end of December this year.

The notification said journalists who have no certification letter from their offices will be absolutely disallowed to enter Government House.

But Government House journalists saw this new regulation was meant only to bar a certain journalist from entry, Mrs Yuwadee, a senior journalist who had retired from Bangkok Post, and now works as a freelance reporter.

She is said to be critical of the prime minister

Mrs Yuwadee was not allowed to enter as usual this morning when she was told by officials that her journalist card has expired and she does not attach permanently to any news office.

Officials told her if she insisted on entering as usual, she has to exchange her ID card with a temporary entry card.

Upset by the new measure, the career journalist chose to walk away instead after she was denied entry.

Meanwhile Government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd denied speculation that the new measure was meant only to deter a particular senior journalist to cover government news.

He insisted nobody should speculate in that way because government officials would always adhere to system and everything must follow the rules.

If any journalist has no ID card issued by the Office of the Spokesman, then he or she must show ID cards of their offices to change for temporary cards for entry.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)