Thailand: CNN criticised for mass shooting coverage

Two CNN reporters, Anna Coren and Daniel Hodge, were deported from Thailand on October 10 for visa violations after their coverage of a mass shooting at a preschool centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province was strongly condemned by the nation’s media community. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges all journalists and media workers to respect global standards of ethical reporting in the field.

Two CNN reporters were deported from Thailand on October 10. Credit: Daniel Slim / AFP

At least 37 people, including 23 children, were killed at the preschool when a former police officer opened fire and stabbed victims at noon on October 6. The motive behind the attack is unknown.

According to deputy national police chief, Surachate Hakparn, the journalists believed they had received authorisation to enter and film the crime scene after being waved into the building by three public health officials.

While police found the journalists had not intended to trespass, they were each fined 5,000 baht (approx. USD 133) for working on tourist visas and deported, Surachate said.

CNN International’s executive vice president and general manager, Mike McCarthy, said the reporters entered the building “in good faith to gain a fuller impression of what transpired inside and to humanise the scale of the tragedy for their audience."

Both journalists have since apologised to the families of the victims and the people of Thailand in a video statement, with CNN pulling the story shortly after it aired.

The conduct of the two journalists was condemned by the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT). In a statement, the FCCT said the journalists’ actions were “unprofessional and a serious breach of journalistic ethics in crime reporting.”

The IFJ launched its revised Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists at the 30th IFJ World Congress in 2019. Find it here.

The IFJ said: “The IFJ urges all journalists to ensure they adhere to ethical standards in crime reporting and uphold a professional and considerate code of conduct in the field. It is in times of tragedy and suffering that the professionalism of journalists is most acutely needed.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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