Foreign journalists have protested the military gatecrashing during a film screening in Thailand. They have taken to Twitter to express displeasure on the issue.
Jonathan Head, BBC News Southeast Asia correspondent and FCCT vice-president, said that soldiers gatecrashed to monitor the event. They also filmed the attendees including the diplomats present. The Contemporary World Film Screening was held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) on Monday.
Head added that he tried to stop the soldiers from entering the event as their presence could appear to be an act of intimidation. South African ambassador Ruby Mark was also present in the event to celebrate the opening of the film screening.
Thai soldiers have come to @FCCThai to monitor a film supported by the South African Embassy. Had to stop them filming ambassadors.
— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) March 14, 2016
The move was considered to be an act of Junta-led Thai Government’s move to curb the freedom of the press, more so, in the case of foreign media stationed in the country.
A South African film “Drum” was screened in the event, reported Asian Correspondents. The 90 minutes movie chronicled the life of South African Investigative Journalist Henry Nxumalo, who worked for a legendry South African music magazine called “Drum”. The film describes the black journalist’s career and efforts to bring about change.
The foreign correspondents in Thailand expressed their concern over the revised media guidelines in February this year, reported Asian Correspondents. They believed that such moves can curb press freedom.
Last month the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a new guideline on media visas for foreign journalists and media correspondents. These rules would be effective starting March 21.
FCCT in its statement called the move “deeply discouraging.”
It appreciated that MOFA considered some of the suggestions by FCCT. However, it also urged the authorities to “interpret the guidelines in a way that enable[d] all bona fide journalists to be properly accredited and report freely and fairly.”
Recently, China decided to impose the new restriction on media reports. The move was taken after a French journalist Ursula Gauthier had written a report questioning the authenticity of China’s claim of a terrorist threat.