Freedom of the Press

Thailand

Thailand

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

30

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

9

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

11

Bribing of journalists, use of commercial advertising to curry political support in the press, and corruption of low-paid journalists particularly in the provincial press, diminish the professionalism of Thai news media. They are generally lively, diversified, and increasingly engaged in investigative journalism, but are subject to a press code that provides prison terms for insulting the head of state and other violations. A radio journalist was shot dead in a southern city in April presumably for investigating corruption in the local government. Internet laws of 1996, like those for the print and broadcast press, prohibit material that is sexually explicit, or promotes ethnic, racial, or religious hatred, or intolerance. The determination is left ambiguously to the provider. There are no laws supporting access to official information. Observers voiced concern that Thaksin Shinawatra's new government was applying both political and economic pressure on the media in 2001 in order to silence critical voices. Authorities issued warnings to several publications, and also tried to influence the press through their allocation of advertising.