11 July 2024

The Thai cabinet approved a draft bill on Tuesday which seeks to create a council for the media profession, similar to the Lawyers Council of Thailand, to regulate and promote the ethics and standards of Thai media professionals and to protect the rights, liberties and independence of the media, in accordance with Section 35 of the Constitution.

Under Section 35, members of the media will be protected by law in the exercise of their rights, liberties and media independence in the presentation of news and opinion if they comply with media ethics and if the exercise of such rights does not go against the good morals of the people.

One highlight of the bill, proposed by the Public Relations Department and drafted by the Council of State, is that members of state-run media have the right to defy the orders of their superiors if such orders are deemed to violate media ethics, but the exercise of that right must take into account the objectives or missions of state media.

The media profession’s council will be run by a 10-member board, to be selected from people who have experience or are specialised in professional media, in human rights or in consumer protection laws.

The council will receive annual funding of at least 25 million baht from the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for Public Interest (BTFP).

The Media Profession Council will be assisted by a permanent office, which will take charge of general and accounting affairs and facilitate the operations of the council and the Ethics Committee.