CNN crew fined, leaving Thailand in day care attack coverage

CNN crew fined, leaving Thailand in day care attack coverage

UTHAI SAWAN Thailand — CNN pulled the story on the massacre in Thailand’s preschoolers. The network apologized Sunday for any criticisms it received. It had entered the daycare where the children were killed and filmed the scene without permission.

The two CNN journalists involved were fined by authorities after they were found to have been in Thailand on tourist visas. However, they were cleared of any wrongdoing for entering the daycare center where more than 20 children died, Surachate Hakparn, deputy chief national police chief, said.

He said his investigation had determined the journalists believed they had obtained permission to enter and film after being waved into the building by a volunteer or a health officer, and were unaware the person was not authorized to allow them inside.

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

Both journalists and CNN International’s executive vice-president and general manager Mike McCarthy apologised.

In a statement, he said his reporters sought permission to enter the building but the team “now understands that these officials were not authorized to grant this permission,” adding that it was “never their intention to contravene any rules.”

“We deeply regret any distress or offense our report may have caused, and for any inconvenience to the police at such a distressing time for the country,” he said in the statement tweeted by CNN. He stated that CNN had stopped broadcasting the report and had removed it from its website.

Authorities began looking into the incident after a Thai reporter posted an image on social media of two members of the crew leaving the scene in northeastern Thailand, where they were reporting on the Thursday attack by a fired policeman who authorities say massacred 36 people, 24 of them children. One CNN crew member was seen climbing the low fence and fence surrounding the compound, with the other one already outside.

This prompted criticism from Thailand’s Foreign Correspondents Club, who said they were “dismayed” by CNN’s coverage of the crime scene and its decision to film it inside.

” This was unprofessional and a serious violation of journalistic ethics for crime reporting,” said the FCCT.

The Thai Journalists Association condemned CNN’s actions as “unethical and insensitive” and demanded an internal investigation by the company, in addition to the Thai probe. In a first response, CNN stated that the crew entered the building after the police cordon was removed. Three public health officials then told them that they could film inside.

” The team gathered footage within the center for about 15minutes, then left,” CNN wrote in a tweet. “During this time the cordon had been re-instated so the team had to climb over the fence at center to leave .”

. The attack, which was Thailand’s worst mass murder, attracted widespread international media attention to Uthai Sawan, a small town in the country’s northeast. Few people were left, but many Thai media reported from the scene on Sunday.

Read More