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IFJ Urges Utmost Caution for Journalists Covering Protests in Bangkok

15 January 2014

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged journalists covering the protests in Bangkok to protect their safety and remain vigilant at all times. According to media reports, seven people were wounded last Saturday 11 January after gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on anti-government protestors in Bangkok. While this week's protests to "shut down" the capital have so far been peaceful, there are fears of further outbreaks of violence.

Two foreign reporters were shot dead in political protests in the country in 2010, while last December a photographer was injured by a rubber bullet while covering clashes in Bangkok. There have also been reports that on Monday, 13 January, a foreign media reporter was manhandled and threatened by guards for taking photos near Bangkok police headquarters.

Amid the increasing unrest, the IFJ has issued safety guidelines providing practical advice and information for journalists covering events in the capital city.

In addition, the IFJ last week sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, expressing its fears for the safety of journalists covering developments in Thailand and calling on Thai authorities to introduce a fast-track system so that journalists can legally equip themselves with body armour for their protection while reporting on events.

"As the threat of violence in Bangkok increases, we urge journalists covering the protests to remain mindful of their safety at all times and to ensure they take every step necessary protect themselves. No story is worth the loss of a life," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We reiterate our request to the Thai government to review its stance on body armour and issue permit and possession licenses so that the professional, committed journalists covering the events in Bangkok and across Thailand can legally protect themselves."