New York, May 20, 2010—As details of violence emerge, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Thai government today to investigate the deaths of two journalists who were killed while covering the violence that has wracked Bangkok and other parts of Thailand for three months. It is the government’s duty to instruct military forces to be aware of the presence of journalists in a battle area and ensure their safety, CPJ said.
In addition to the two journalists killed, at least six more
were injured while covering the unrest, according to news reports. CPJ has compiled
of our colleagues’ firsthand accounts of the violence on the CPJ Blog.
“Covering civil unrest in Thailand
is always dangerous, but for months, neither side in the political turmoil has
been willing to address ways of allowing journalists to do their jobs without
fear of being killed or injured,” said Bob Dietz,
CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The government
must fully investigate the killing of Fabio Polenghi, including all evidence
and ballistics to determine who was responsible for his death and bring them to
On Wednesday, freelance Italian photojournalist Fabio
Polenghi was killed and three international journalists were among dozens
of people injured. Polenghi,
45, had been on assignment in Thailand for three
months for a European magazine. The men were among 12 other
people injured in the battles after Thai troops smashed into the rally zone in Bangkok’s center, tearing
down the barricades of tires and razor wire
On April 10, Reuters cameraman Hiro
Muramoto, a Japanese national, died after being shot in the chest while
filming armed exchanges between government soldiers and antigovernment
Also wounded by gunfire on Wednesday was Dutch freelancer Michael Maas, who was working
for Dutch national TV, and Andrew Buncombe, a British reporter with the U.K.
daily The Independent. Chandler
Vandergrift, a freelance Canadian writer and photographer, was seriously hurt
in a grenade attack. He remains in intensive care at the Bangkok Christian
Hospital following two hours of brain
surgery, according to the Toronto Star.
Demonstrators also targeted
Thai media centers as they were routed Wednesday. State-run TV Channel 3
was attacked, and many staff members had to be evacuated from the building,
according to local and international news reports. Staff at sister newspapers
the English-language Bangkok Post and the Thai-language Post Today
were also evacuated when protesters gathered nearby.