SOPA condemns Thai government harassment of news outlets covering student protests

The Society of Publishers in Asia condemns recent actions by the Thai government against news outlets covering the student protest movement that are detrimental to free speech in the country.

During large student protests in Bangkok on Oct. 17, a reporter from the non-profit news agency Prachatai was arrested while trying to report live from the scene, while journalists gathered at a vantage point during a police crackdown were hit by spray from a water cannon laced with a chemical irritant.  

Today, four prominent news outlets – Prachatai, The Reporters, The Standard, and Voice TV – were ordered to stop publishing and broadcasting by Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

SOPA calls on the Thai government to allow news publications to report on the ongoing student protests free from physical and legal harassment.

Correction: The original version of this statement incorrectly stated that the NBTC ordered the publications shut down, when in fact it was the Thai police that ordered the NBTC to investigate and shut down the publications. We apologize for the error.