Foreign correspondents in Bangkok expressed concern on Saturday about intimidation of journalists and sadness over journalists killed during clashes between anti—government protestors and soldiers.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) said it was “deeply saddened by the death of Italian freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi on May 19 from gunshot wounds, and extends its condolences to his family and friends.” It was the second media fatality during the current political unrest in Bangkok, following the fatal shooting on April 10 of Japanese cameraman Hiroyaki Muramoto.
“Many more civilians have been killed, and the FCCT hopes that every effort will be made to correctly identify those responsible for each individual death so that similar tragedies will not be repeated,” the press group’s statement said.
Two Canadian journalists were seriously wounded but are in stable condition. Nelson Rand sustained three bullet wounds, while Chandler Vandergrift suffered shrapnel wounds to the head.
Three Thai photographers and one reporter were also wounded, along with one Dutch and one British correspondent.
“A number of other journalists have been less seriously hurt, but there has been concern over intimidation that has led to assaults on reporters and the loss of reporting materials and images,” the FCCT said.
The Bangkok Post and The Nation English—language newspapers were forced to send home staffers and close briefly at the height of the clashes on Wednesday, feeling threatened by angry protestors.
TV station Channel 3 was the target of an arson attack which took it off the air for two days. Staff were evacuated from the roof of the burning building by helicopter.