Four professional media associations yesterday issued a joint statement calling for journalists to exercise their freedom with responsibility and help stop spreading fake news and disinformation.
“As the country is heading for an election on Sunday, it is a major task for all types of media to check and screen rumours, fake news and disinformation before releasing any news and help to stop the spread of fake news in order to prevent the media from being used as a political tool of political camps,” they said.
Their statement was issued in response to the airing of a controversial audio clip by Nation TV on one of its most popular news programmes, hosted by star anchor Kanok Ratwongsakul.
The clip featured what now appears to be a faked conversation between Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and the ousted former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, in which they were discussing post-election prospects.
Netizens criticised the station, saying it had shown itself to be politically compromised by reporting “fake news” that favoured the pro-junta bloc.
The statement said that in the current era in which information spreads quickly online and in social media, journalists needed to use their freedom with more responsibility.
The media needed to ensure they remained fair to anyone affected by stories published in print or on the airwaves; they should also heed advice, criticism and be open to more intense scrutiny by society, the statement said.
The media needed to do its duty to professional standards, and following a code of ethics, in order to report accurately and gain credibility from society, the associations added.
The joint statement was signed by the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, Thai Journalists Association, the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand and the National Press Council of Thailand.