CIJ condemns journalists’ detention and confiscation of equipment
November 26, 2004
The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia, condemns the detention of three television crew members in southern Thailand. The three Edisi Siasat journalists were held for more than five hours, and had one tape confiscated on Saturday 20 November 2004.
The three are senior producer Zainal Rashid Ahmad, producer Radzli Ramli and journalist Firdaus Mohammad Zainal. They had been in the province since the previous Thursday and returned to Malaysia on 24 November. The journalists work for a private Malaysian television station, ntv7.
This detention comes following concerns by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance about pressure being put on the Thai media to ‘control and sanitise’ information from southern Thailand.
Journalists have a responsibility to report news as fully and as truthfully as possible and in doing so they serve the public interest. If the media is seen as partial to the interests of either side it puts journalists at risk. In addition, attempts to silence the grievances of the local population will not result in those grievances disappearing. Only if issues are aired, discussed and tackled will problems go away. Covering them up just causes them to fester.
If the Thai government wants to solve the problems in the country’s south, hobbling in the media not a constructive way forward.
The detention was reported in Malaysian newspapers on 25 November. They reported that the tape contained interviews with people critical of Thai government action in Thailand’s troubled south.