Thai reporters debate boycott on news at registration venue

Thai reporters debate boycott on news at registration venue

THAILAND - There were further arguments yesterday between reporters and protesters at the gates of the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Bangkok, but the tension was resolved after talks with protest leaders.

Arguments between reporters and protesters also erupted on Monday, the first day when political parties were due to begin registering for the election at the site in Din Daeng in Bangkok.

Media outlets considered imposing a boycott on news about the protests. But reporters finally decided to enter the site to report about the situation there.

Pornthip Suwanthichakorn, a Daily News reporter, said a boycott would not happen because it was the duty of journalists to report the news. Repor-ters may not want to enter the protest site but editors or their station chiefs still wanted reports on what occurred.

Pornthip also felt protesters would not have understood the reasons for a boycott if one had been imposed. She said the only way reporters could ensure they were safe from attack was to take care of themselves.

A reporter from a TV channel, who refused to disclose his name or station, said a boycott was not the best response after recent incidents between protesters and reporters. If protesters did not understand the reasons for a boycott it could cause more conflict between them.

He believed the best way to clean up the problem was to get all news stations to report out of the protest site.

"We should report, take photos and record video in front of protest sites, so people know what happens to reporters who can't report news from there. And we should not put a boycott on reporting the news."

He also suggested that reporters be on their best behaviour, because some acted arrogantly, feeling that they could do anything.

"Now that we're all in the protest site, we should calm down and just do our duty," he said.

Meanwhile, protesters were still blocking gates at the Thai-Japanese Stadium yesterday, so no representatives from political parties were able to file documents to register for the election. The latest incident occurred after protesters pressured reporters at Gate 2 of the stadium. A protest leader told off a cameraman who recorded video of an address he gave from a stage on a six-wheel truck.

"You should report yourself to me before you record video," he warned. "If you want to enter the stadium you will not get out of it." After that reporters called protest leader Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who spoke to the man and the situation calmed down.

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