THE Press Council of Cambodia (PCC) has accused Thai security forces of ignoring the safety of local and foreign reporters covering the current violent protests in Bangkok, calling for concerted efforts to secure their safety during the turmoil.
“The PCC absolutely condemns the use of violence against journalists who have been fulfilling their duty in Bangkok and would like to appeal to the UN to launch an investigation that will lead to the arrests of the murderers and bring them to court,” the group said in a statement Monday.
“The PCC would like to appeal to the government of Thailand to protect and ensure the safety of journalists who have been working in Thailand to produce news because their safety is fragile.”
Several journalists have been injured during clashes between antigovernment Red Shirts and Thai troops in Bangkok this week, including a cameraman for France 24, a photographer for the Thai newspaper Matichon and a photographer for the Thai daily The Nation. Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto was killed during a similar spell of violence in Bangkok last month.
Pen Samitthy, president of the Cambodian Club of Journalists, said the Thai government must not view journalists as obstacles during its attempt to clear protesters from the capital.
“I think that Thailand’s armed forces are shooting at journalists to hide their acts of violence, because we have noted that the armed forces hesitated to shoot at antigovernment protesters when there were many journalists on the scene,” he said.
The PCC statement follows a similar call from watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which on Sunday urged both sides to guarantee the safety of journalists.
“The confusion reigning in various parts of Bangkok does not suffice to explain the shooting injuries sustained by several Thai and foreign journalists since April. Both camps must comply fully with the requirements of international law, according to which journalists cannot be military targets,” the group stated.