Kingdom dropped 14 places in world rankings
Published: 4/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
Thailand's press freedom status has been downgraded from "partly free" to "not free", according to a study by the Washington-based Freedom House, a leading US human rights organisation.
Thailand is among many countries, such as Egypt, Mexico and South Korea, which experienced significant declines in the number of people who could gain access to free and independent media, said the Freedom House's report entitled Freedom of the Press 2011: A Global Survey of Media Independence.
The report was released yesterday to mark World Press Freedom Day.
The group also released the Global Press Freedom Rankings for 2011, in which Thailand ranked 138th, down from 124th last year. The country's press freedom status has been downgraded to "not free" _ the same as Cambodia, which ranked 141st.
Malaysia and Singapore are the other two Southeast Asian countries sharing the "not free" status.
The report noted that repressive governments have intensified efforts to exert control over new means of communication, including satellite television and the internet.
Some democratic and semi-democratic states also moved to impose additional restrictions on the internet, including South Korea and Thailand, which increased censorship of online content, the report stated.
"While we have come to expect restrictive and dangerous environments for journalists in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, we are particularly troubled this year by declines in young or faltering democracies like Mexico, Hungary and Thailand," said David J Kramer, executive director of Freedom House.
Thai media professionals yesterday also held activities to campaign for press freedom.
Representatives of media organisations met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to submit a two-point proposal on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
The proposal called for the government's sincerity in reforming the broadcast media. The government has been asked to refrain from using state-owned media as a political tool and to stop issuing laws that limit the freedom and liberty of people and the media in expressing their views, such as amendments to the Computer Crime Act.
Representing the media in submitting the proposal were Thai Journalists Association president Chavarong Limpattamapanee, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association chairman Wisuth Khomvatcharapong and TJA vice-president Sadet Bunnag.