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Thai press associations denounce draft media law

Bangkok, Feb 2: Thai press organisations petitioned the ruling military junta on Thursday to replace the head of the panel entrusted with drafting a new media law that they allege will curb freedom of information and expression. “This kind of thing exists only under dictatorship governments. This is against the new constitution backed by the referendum that ensures media freedom and people’s freedom of expression,” said the former president of the tiol Press Council of Thailand, Chakkrit Permpool. The 30 groups rejecting the new regulation include the NPCT, the Confederation of Thai Jourlists, and the Thai Jourlists Association, Efe news reported. The petition, presented to the tiol Reform Steering Assembly, requests replacing the chief of the commission entrusted with media reform, Kanit Suwante, arguing, among other things, that he is not a professiol from the sector. The two most controversial provisions of the draft legislation are the creation of a supervisory council for media outlets that will have the power to revoke their licenses and whose members would include permanent secretaries from different ministries. We are not against ethical norms, but it must happen through the self-regulation formula, said Thepchai Yong, chairman of the Confederation of Thai Jourlists. Yong said the draft legislation paves the way for political interference in media, explaining that permanent secretaries are appointed by politicians. (IANS)