Justice Ministry sets guidelines for media in reporting crimes at press conference

The bringing of criminal suspects to appear at press conference is a violation of human right and also is unfair to their families who have no knowledge of their crimes but have to suffer social consequences, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry spokesman and deputy permanent secretary Thawatchai Thaikhiew said the ministry is now working out guidelines for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) that will in future forbid bringing in suspects involved in cases at press conferences as this was considered a violation of the rights of the individual.

He said the guidelines covers the conduct of the media in reporting crimes on air.

They will be forwarded to the NBTC as guidelines in tackling news reporting that is considered a violation of human rights.

He said the main priority of the new guidelines is the violation the rights of individuals involved in criminal cases when brought for press conferences.

It is felt that this kind of treatment is unfair particularly for the suspect's family or relatives whom in all likelihood have no knowledge or involvement the crime, he said.

Another concern for the ministry is that such public condemnation serves no valid purpose whatsoever as society today has become immune and uncaring of such punishment.

He said professional opinion is that few, if any, are forewarned of the consequence of criminal behavior.

Commenting on the fears of violation of individual rights involved in such instances, the deputy spokesman for the Royal Thai Police Pol Col Kritsanna Pattanacharoen insisted that the Royal Thai Police has clear guidelines for the treatment of suspects involved in criminal cases.

He stated that they are required to receive the permission of the suspect before putting him or her on public display.

Similarly, acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau Pol. Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn also assured the public that the treatment of suspects by the police was in accordance with official guidelines.

However the police were willing to cooperate with the government on whatever it deems is appropriate, he said.

Meanwhile at a Metropolitan Police Bureau's press conference yesterday involving the case of the successful capture of a gang of motorcycle thieves, no suspect was brought forward as was routinely done in the past.

Only seized items and an outline of connections to other similar gangs were presented by the police.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)