ASTV-Manager has resigned from the board of the Thai Journalist Association in protest after the media body released a statement opposing the government’s closure of the red shirt People Channel or PTV. Its representative said the red-shirt TV should be closed because it is not loyal to the monarchy, unlike ASTV which adheres to what is right and just.
On 9 April, Kiatkong Thongruang, representative of ASTV-Manager, said that he had resigned from the TJA board. After discussing the TJA statement and consulting with other senior figures in the media, ASTV-Manager decided to quit the board in protest.
The TJA and the Thailand Cable TV Association released a joint statement on 8 April condemning the government’s closure of the red shirt TV and Prachatai as a violation of the constitution and the people’s right to information, and an example of double standards, because the government did not close another satellite TV station, ASTV.
Kiatkong said that such claims were naïve, and showed that some people in the TJA wanted to use the media body in favour of one side, and for their own benefit. This move of the TJA ran the risk of misleading the public into thinking that journalists who were members of the TJA shared the same view as these people.
The TJA board members had never been called for a meeting, nor been informed about the statement, although it was a sensitive issue and in an abnormal situation, he said.
‘I felt as if I had been slapped on the face. I felt angry and shamed when I saw the statement issued by the media body which the public believe is close to information, and which therefore should have known better about how the crisis has come about,’ he said, adding that the claim that the government was restricting the media and the rights and freedoms of the people was ridiculous and pathetic and showed that some people in the TJA understood that PTV was a member of the media.
Kiatkong wondered why the TJA did not yet understand what PTV was. It used distorted information to bring about hatred, broadcasting events from the red shirt stages which were utterly vulgar, and often offensive to the monarchy. The red shirt websites were the same. The TJA seemed to be deaf and blind. If the TJA accepts PTV and the redshirt websites, does it mean that it accepts other red shirt media outlets like the Voice of Taksin or Red News which are clearly offensive to the monarchy, he asked.
He insisted that ASTV, which had been criticized by many, had always worked with adherence to integrity and justice, pointing what was right and wrong for society.