Bangkok, October 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the recent roadside bomb attack that injured five reporters in southern Thailand and calls on both sides of the region's insurgent conflict to refrain from attacks that imperil journalists.
An improvised explosive device detonated on October 19 near a Thai army foot patrol in the southernmost province of Narathiwat, according to news reports. Two soldiers died from injuries sustained in the first explosion. A little under an hour later, while Thai officials and reporters were investigating the blast, a second hidden explosive device exploded in a nearby tree.
Violence in Thailand's southernmost provinces has intensified in recent weeks after a declared ceasefire between a rebel group and the Thai government failed to hold during the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the restive region since an insurgent movement restarted a decades-old fight for autonomy in January 2004.
News accounts reported that the five journalists injured and hospitalized by the second bomb attack were Thai Channel 5 reporter Santhiti Korjimate; Siam Rath newspaper reporter Muranee Mama; Thai PBS reporter Pathitta Noosanthad; AFP photographer Madaree Tohala; and Thai Channel 7 reporter Kreeya Tohtanee. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
"These types of staggered bomb attacks are designed to injure those who investigate southern Thailand's insurgency-related violence," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "Too often, reporters are among those injured in the follow-up attacks. Both sides in southern Thailand's conflict have a responsibility to ensure that journalists can safely report and the flow of information is not impeded."
- For more data and analysis, visit CPJ's Thailand page.