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Scrap The Media Reform Bill, Says TJA

Bangkok, Mon May 01 2017
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The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) submitted a letter to National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) vice president Alongkorn Ponlaboot on Monday calling on the proposed media reform draft bill to be withdrawn.

The letter was submitted while the NRSA deliberated the draft bill proposed by its media reform committee chaired by ACM Kanit Suwannet. TJA president Pramed Lekpetch said the draft bill violated the principle of press freedom.

Press should be self-regulated or regulated by the public but not by a media professional council as suggested in the draft bill by the NRSA's media reform committee, Pramed said.

Alongkorn said the process of passing the draft bill into law needed to involve the Cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly, with the opinions of all stakeholders observed and the pros and cons of the proposal analysed in accordance with Article 77 of the new constitution.

He said the NRSA had no intention to restrict or interfere with media freedom.

The draft bill raised concerns among media professionals, especially the proposal to set up a media professional council to regulate the industry and obligate media personnel to have media licences. Under the initial draft, the council was empowered to issue and revoke licences.

An hour before the NRSA was scheduled to deliberate on the draft bill on Monday, Kanit's panel voted to remove the proposed licensing requirement and replace it with the issuance of media certificates.

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