With a major update: FCCT failure on media freedom

2 02 2013

Andrew MacGregor Marshall at ZenJournalist has a scathing attack on the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand. Some of us at PPT have a kind affection for the place. After all, it has been attacked with spurious lese majeste accusations and journalists associated with the FCCT have also been accused of lese majeste. We also remember that the FCCT bravely put on talks by lese majeste opponents.

Yet the claims made by Marshall are serious. Following the lese majeste conviction of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk he says the FCCT has been silent. He claims:

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, however, had nothing to say about a Thai editor being imprisoned for more than a decade. Board members were instructed not to make any comment on the case. After a week of silence [Nirmal] Ghosh finally shared the reasons why. The FCCT was a club and not an association, he said, and so it would be inappropriate to issue a statement on such a sensitive issue. It was important for the FCCT to avoid taking sides, so it could remain a neutral venue for debate and discussion. Foreign journalists should not lecture the Thai authorities about how to run the country, and should stick to covering the news rather than trying to influence policy. They should report, not judge.

Neatly, Marshall juxtaposed this with a clip from the FCCT web site:

fcct11

There’s almost nothing else to say…. We suggest readers look at the whole post. We await the FCCT’s response.

Update: Marshall posts that he has received an FCCT response. Oh boy, it makes it worse….. We can’t add much to Marshall’s comments on the response, but can’t resist. The correspondent is Mr. Pollard, who works for The Nation, states:

In this particular matter, the FCCT board was divided on whether to respond. That is partly because we don’t feel the need to all court rulings or developments. But also because some — like me — don’t rate Somyot as a person worthy of great sympathy, given he worked on a a pro-Thaksin rag, not a real newspaper, but a political magazine that, for Thailand, had a radical agenda. And, he was thus, not only likely to be fully aware of the possibility of this sort of judicial backlash; one has to wonder whether he was goaded by promises of support by backers of that magazine, or prominent red shirts, in the event of him being arrested and prosecuted.

This is remarkable. First, Pollard wants the FCCT to pick and choose which journalist they think “rate.” This is remarkable for as serious journalists know, when governments lock up any journalist, they threaten them all. Indeed, Pollard provides the evidence for this. Second, to pick and choose based on media quality, Pollard would have to allow almost all his colleagues at The Nation rot in jail; after all, The Nation is fish wrap. Third, Pollard blames Somyos for his own predicament. As anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of the case knows, Somyos didn’t write the articles deemed offensive. Worse, by blaming Somyos, Pollard is endorsing the whole system of lese majeste repression that results in massive self censorship.

Read the whole offensive, disingenuous response from Pollard.


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10 responses

3 02 2013
Warped world royalism and lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] our links to the comments by ZenJournalist in a recent post, PPT also wants to link to a report of a […]

3 02 2013
Warped world royalism and lese majeste « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] our links to the comments by ZenJournalist in a recent post, PPT also wants to link to a report of a […]

4 02 2013
Debating lese majeste and responses to it « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] is made to a transcript of the statement by the self-lampooning royalist Tul Sitthisomwong. On the raging controversy regarding the FCCT itself, Saksith […]

4 02 2013
Debating lese majeste and responses to it « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] is made to a transcript of the statement by the self-lampooning royalist Tul Sitthisomwong. On the raging controversy regarding the FCCT itself, Saksith […]

7 02 2013
FCCT on lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] At the front page of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, and related to several earlier posts Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on media freedom: […]

7 02 2013
FCCT on lese majeste « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] At the front page of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, and related to several earlier posts Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on media freedom: […]

12 02 2013
What if we are not worthy of sympathy? « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one”, FCCT failure on media freedom and FCCT on […]

12 02 2013
What if we are not worthy of sympathy? « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one”, FCCT failure on media freedom and FCCT on […]

17 02 2013
Continuing the LM discussion « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] There has been a long discussion of lese majeste and the role of journalists and academics (surprisingly rather limited because of the attention to foreigners in these categories). THe long trail is here: FCCT on lese majeste, Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on media freedom. […]

17 02 2013
Continuing the LM discussion « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] There has been a long discussion of lese majeste and the role of journalists and academics (surprisingly rather limited because of the attention to foreigners in these categories). THe long trail is here: FCCT on lese majeste, Debating and damning lese majeste, Chiranuch at FCCT, Debating lese majeste and responses to it, Warped world royalism and lese majeste, “Somyos should be the last one” and FCCT failure on media freedom. […]