Government House bans a female Thai reporter for alleged cultural faux pas

A Thai reporter, working for a Japanese news agency, has been temporarily banned from Government House, because of her alleged negative attitude towards the working environment there.

The temporary ban followed an incident, during a press conference by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House on Tuesday, when the prime minister politely asked the reporter in question, who was sitting crossed legged with one leg pointing at the podium, to sit differently.

Ms. Natthareeya Thaveevongs, director of the Office of the Spokesman of PM’s Office, later explained that the reporter’s posture was not normal, because the upper leg was raised high, leaving her foot pointing at the podium, where the prime minister was conducting the press conference.

Ms. Natthareeya maintained, however, that her notification to the Japanese news agency about the temporary ban had nothing to do with the inappropriate posture, nor had it anything to do with the reporter’s tough questions during the press conference.

She said that the real problem stemmed from the reporter’s alleged distortion of facts about the working environment at Government House, which she had posted on social media.

Banyong Suwapong, chair of the ethics committee of the Thai Journalists Association, said that, although women sitting cross-legged is treated as normal these days, the Thai custom of being respectful towards people of seniority remains unchanged and reporters should treat senior figures with respect, through proper attire and conduct.

The reporter later posted on social media, complaining about how reporters had been kept waiting outside the building where the press conference was to be held.


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