CNN crew fined for entering Thai massacre on tourist visa


UTAISAWAN, Thailand—CNN pulled out a story about the massacre of preschoolers in Thailand, apologizing for criticism Sunday that a journalist walked into a day care where children were killed and filmed the crime scene without permission.

Two CNN journalists involved were fined after authorities discovered they had worked in the country after entering the country on tourist visas, but entered a day care center where more than 20 children were killed. The deputy chief of the National Police, Surachate Hakparn, said he was exempt from any wrongdoing against the police.

His investigation found that journalists believed they obtained permission to enter and film after being waved into the building by a volunteer or health officer, unaware that the person had no authority to let them inside. It turned out that it wasn’t.

They each agreed to pay a fine of 5,000 baht ($133) and leave the country, he said.

Both journalists apologized, as did CNN International Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike McCarthy.

In a statement, his reporter asked for permission to enter the building, but the team “now understands that these officials were not authorized to grant this permission,” adding that “there was no intent to violate the rules.” he added.

In a statement posted on CNN’s Twitter account, it said: “We deeply regret the pain and discomfort that our report may have caused and the inconvenience that our police have suffered during such a tragic time for our country. increase.

He said CNN stopped broadcasting the report and removed the video from its website.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident after a Thai reporter posted images on social media of two crew members leaving the scene in northeastern Thailand. They were reporting on Thursday’s attack by fired police officers, who authorities said killed 36 and 24 people. their children. One of his CNN crew climbed over low walls and fences around the property, climbed over police tape, and another of him was already outside.

In response, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) criticized CNN’s reporting and its decision to film the inside crime scene as “disappointing”.

The FCCT said, “This was unprofessional and a serious violation of journalistic ethics in crime reporting.”

The Thai Journalists Association criticized CNN’s actions as “unethical” and “insensitive” and called for an internal investigation into the incident, in addition to the official Thai investigation.

CNN’s first reaction was that crew members entered the compound when the police cordon was removed from the center, and three public health officials who exited the building told them they could film the interior. I wrote about it on Twitter.

CNN tweeted, “The team collected footage inside the center for about 15 minutes before leaving.” did.”

As Thailand’s worst such massacre, the attack drew widespread international media attention to the small town of Utaisawan in the country’s northeastern countryside. However, many Thai media outlets continued to report from the scene.

David Rising

Associated Press