The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was concerned today at the news of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra ridiculing journalists for their questions at a press conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
Thaksin will no longer hold daily news conferences but instead will hold formal, strictly formatted “meet the press” sessions every Thursday at Government House.
The first of these sessions was held yesterday, Thursday August 25 where journalists and senior editors were only allowed to ask a maximum of two questions each. Problems arose when journalists and the PM had differing opinions on what constitutes a question that is in the public interest.
When a journalist asked a question that Thaksin deemed ‘destructive’ he raised a sign with a blue cross on it and ridiculed the journalist. When the next journalist asked a question he approved of he held up a sign with a red zero on it and deemed it ‘constructive’.
“The stunt pulled by the Prime Minister yesterday was designed to ridicule and intimidate the media into asking questions favourable to him, “ said IFJ President Christopher Warren
“Press conferences are designed to give the media equal access to the government and make the government accountable to the people, which isn’t possible when journalists are too scared to ask questions,” said Warren.
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 656 778
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries worldwide