Me­dia out­lets stung by on­line crit­i­cism over sneaky re­port­ing on miss­ing girl

The Nation - - AROUND THAILAND -

SO­CIAL-ME­DIA USERS have blasted news me­dia out­lets for in­vad­ing the pri­vacy of a 14-year-old girl who was re­ported as miss­ing but turned out to be trav­el­ling with a much older man.

The col­lec­tive voice of the In­ter­net proved its might again, with many sel­f­reg­u­lat­ing me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions is­su­ing state­ments over the week­end de­mand­ing that their mem­bers toe the le­gal line and re­frain from adding salt to the wounds of a young vic­tim.

“Now that you have iden­ti­fied her, with pho­tos and all, will the girl still have a place to stand in the so­ci­ety?” Mati Bam­rungku­na­porn wrote on the “kendek­thai” Face­book page late last week.

He said he was wor­ried for the girl, whom of­fi­cials said was un­der stress and say­ing lit­tle to any­one.

The girl was re­ported miss­ing by her par­ents on De­cem­ber 27. Her name and pho­tos were re­leased to the pub­lic and me­dia in the hope some­one would see her.

She was found un­harmed on Thurs­day, but some me­dia out­lets wanted more de­tails. Re­porters went to the ex­treme of sift­ing through the garbage bin at her place in search of clues. The rev­e­la­tion upset many peo­ple fol­low­ing the story on­line.

Pr­a­sith Tha­worn­pis­arn said on the “takekidswithus” Face­book page that the au­thor­i­ties should take le­gal ac­tion against me­dia out­lets that vi­o­lated laws gov­ern­ing re­port­ing.

“Let’s set a clear stan­dard,” he wrote. In re­sponse to the out­cry, the Na­tional Press Coun­cil of Thai­land, Thai Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion and On­line News Providers As­so­ci­a­tion (SONP) is­sued state­ments re­mind­ing their mem­bers to strictly ad­here to ethics and the law.

SONP urged its mem­ber-out­lets to delete from their on­line pages the girl’s name and ad­dress, the name of her school and any other ref­er­ence that might give clues to her iden­tity. It asked Google (Thai­land) to help in the purge.

SONP said its mem­bers should stop re­port­ing the story in a way that could hurt the girl and her fam­ily in the long run.

“Any up­dates to the news should only be based on in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cially pro­vided by the po­lice,” it said.

The owner of the “takekidswithus” Face­book page, who calls her­self Dr O, said ev­ery­one should treat the young teen the same way they would want them­selves or their own child to be treated in such cir­cum­stances.

“The girl’s rights should not be vi­o­lated,” she said.

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