Thailand: “Authorities must stop using fake news allegations to silence free and fair criticism”

Chiranuch Premchaiporn is the co-founder of the Foundation for Community Educational Media (FCEM) and Prachatai (meaning Free People), the independent media website. She highlights the limitations on press freedom and the use of fake news to silence the media. #WPFD2019

Ye Aung Thu/AFP

What are the main challenges that could impede free, pluralistic and independent journalism ahead of elections in your country?

New regulation by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). Also, there is no free and open environment which causes limitations and concerns for journalists covering the general elections, especially for online media.

 What can media and journalists do to uphold ethical standards in covering elections?

In my opinion, the Thai media did relatively well covering the 2019 general elections. However, some harassment of media staff still took place, especially TV hosts: one was removed from hosting a debate and another one has been charged for defamation for sharing an online petition to impeach the ECT. Solidarity among media at large will help to face the threats against media workers.

 What policies and regulations should be adopted to protect freedom of the press and the public's right to information during the election process?

Authorities must stop using 'fake news' allegations to silence free and fair criticism and ECT must drop all charges against media or citizens who expressed their opinions and participated in online petitions assessing ECT's performance.

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