AFTER the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand criticised a CNN team over its coverage of the mass killing at the child care centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province that left 36 small children and adults dead, the Thai Immigration police revoked the tourist visas of two CNN journalists who are now being questioned, Matichon newspaper said this afternoon (Oct. 9).
Deputy Police Chief Pol. Gen. Surachet Hakphan said CNN’s communications department had issued a statement about this matter stating that their reporters had gone there to cover the mass killing together with media from other agencies.
CNN added that their reporters had said three health workers were in the area while filming the child care centre and they were in the premises for only 15.
However when they came out they found that officials had again cordoned off the building which led to the two of them having to climb over the barricade.
Pol. Gen. Surachet said the two journalists, Ms. Anna Marguerite Coren, 47, Australian, and Mr Daniel John Hodge, 34, British, had been brought to Na Klang police station from the hotel they are staying in at this province for questioning.
The next step is to verify if anyone had allowed them to enter the premises and authorisation could only be obtained from the police.
He added that immigration police had initially revoked their visas and if they were found to have entered the child care centre without permission they face two related charges, trespassing an official centre and entering a place where there is evidence.
Immigration police had found that the two journalists had entered the country on a tourist visa but instead were covering news and entered the crime scene, which is a government premises. According to the Immigration law their visas have to be revoked and the two of them deported.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) issued a statement on Saturday criticising CNN’s coverage of the mass killing as “unprofessional and a serious breach of journalistic ethics in crime reporting.”
“CNN meanwhile should answer a simple question. Would one of their crews have behaved in the same way at a serious crime scene in the United States?”
Top and Front Page: Condolence wreaths, flowers and toys placed outside the child care centre where 36 small children and adults were massacred. Photos: Matichon
Insert: Deputy Police Chief Pol Gen Surachet Hakphan. Photo: Matichon
Below: The FCCT’s statement criticising the CNN crew’s coverage.