11 July 2024

The Criminal Court released on bail today two journalists who had been taken into police custody in connection with the alleged defacing of a wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in March last year. The court set their bonds at Bt35,000 each.

Nuttaphol Meksobhon, a reporter of Prachatai, was arrested yesterday afternoon for being an accomplice in causing damage to a historic site and vandalising a wall in a public place.

Earlier, the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) released a statement in response to the arrests, saying that they are watching the situation very closely and have contacted Prachatai to verify whether the two reporters had been assigned to cover the incident.

The statement also states that the TJA is ‘concerned’ about the charges filed against the two journalists.

“The charge of ‘accomplice in a crime’ is concerning, as it might affect the freedom of the press. It is unavoidable for journalists to report on both positive and negative aspects of society,” read the statement.

It hopes that the justice system will provide clarity on this issue and be open for the accused to provide their explanations. It also called for the court’s consideration of their bail request.

Meanwhile, the Thai Media for Democracy Alliance (DemAll) released a statement, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of both reporters.

“Reporters are not criminals and news reporting is our rightful duty. We condemn the actions of government officials for using their power to force wide-ranging blame onto journalists. It is a violation of the rights and freedoms of the press.”