The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the South East Asia Journalist Unions (SEAJU) in strongly condemning the attack on a local journalist on June 7 in the Daokhanong district in Bangkok, Thailand. The IFJ and SEAJU call on the police to immediately investigate the attack and bring through responsible to justice.
Early on Tuesday June 7, Thai journalist, Chatchai Suksomnuek’s car was damaged when it was peppered with bullets. According to Chatchai, the front, side windows and hood of the car was shot at and damaged in the attack, which occurred out the front of his home. Chatchai heard the attack from inside his house, but waited until dawn to go outside and inspect the damage.
Chatchai is a veteran crime reporter in Bangkok, who currently works for the Pim Thai newspaper. He is based at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters and previously worked at a police TV station. Prior to the attack he had been reporting on the annual police reshuffle, which had received widespread criticism in the media for factual errors.
In a statement the Thai Journalist Association (TJA) vice president Pramed Lekpetch expressed concern for the incident noting, “Regardless of whether it targeted a journalist or situation, it clearly showed disrespect of the law. Such threats to journalists have happened for many times already but nobody has been taken responsible. We urge the National Police chief to quickly push for the investigation and taking the people behind this to face legal action.”
SEAJU said: “This incident is a clear attempt to silence critical voices and send a message. Tactics such as fear and intimidation work to weaken press freedom and freedom of expression. Across South East Asia, critical voices continue to be intimidated and silenced as groups try to control the press and freedom of expression. SEAJU joins TJA in calling on the National Police to immediate investigate the incident and guarantee the safety of the media community in Thailand.”
The IFJ said: “Journalists should never live with intimidation and fear for their work. However, increasingly journalists across South East Asia are living in fear, simply for doing their job. The IFJ joins SEAJU in demanding immediate action from the National Police to ensure the safety and security of the Thai media and bringing those responsible to justice.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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