IFJ Condemns Killing of Second Journalist in Thailand

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the killing of Italian freelance

photojournalist Fabio Polenghi, 45, who was shot dead yesterday when armed

forces broke up the stronghold of anti-government protesters in central Bangkok.

 

Polenghi is the second journalist to

die in violent clashes in Thailand’s

capital since April 10, when Japanese cameraman Hiro Muramoto was killed by

gunfire.

 

“The death of Fabio Polenghi is a

reminder that journalists continue to put their lives on the line while

reporting close to danger,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

Three other foreign media personnel were

reported injured yesterday. Dutch freelancer Michael Maas was being treated for

a shoulder wound received while working for Dutch national TV. Chandler

Vandergrift, a freelance Canadian writer and photographer, was seriously hurt

in a grenade attack, and an unnamed American journalist was shot in the leg,

according to reports.

 

As the protesters dispersed, violence

was targeted at media outlets. State-run TV Channel 3 was attacked as

protesters entered the station premises, which were set alight. Many staff were

trapped and reportedly rescued by helicopters, according to news reports.

 

The offices of sister newspapers the

English-language Bangkok Post and the

Thai-language Post Today were

evacuated as a crowd marched nearby.

 

Polenghi was among 14 people

reported killed in yesterday’s clashes. The Milan-based freelance

photojournalist was shot in the stomach and died in hospital. He had been wearing

a bullet-proof vest and a helmet when he was shot, hospital sources said.

 

The IFJ urges media managers in Thailand

to take maximum precautions for the safety of journalists.

 

“Thai and foreign editors and managers must take responsibility to

ensure that their personnel working in Thailand

adhere to expert advice on reporting safely in areas of conflict, and are

provided with adequate safety equipment in the field,” Park said.

 

The IFJ urges media managers and

journalists to follow safety protocols for media working in conflict areas,

available at the International News

Safety Institute (INSI) website at:

http://www.newssafety.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5174&Itemid=100118

 

The IFJ further calls on Thailand’s

authorities to take all action to ensure military and police abide by

international instruments that stipulate the non-combatant status of media

personnel reporting in areas of conflict, in line with United Nations Security

Council Resolution 1738.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide