After Thai officials learned that two CNN reporters had been using tourist visas to work, they were punished for their coverage of the deadly shooting at a daycare center in Thailand.
The deputy national police commander, Surachate Hakparn, however, cleared the journalists of any wrongdoing, claiming they entered the crime scene after being directed to do so by public health officials who, unbeknownst to them, lacked the power to authorize them.
Foreign journalists who admitted working in Thailand on tourist visas consented to pay 5,000 baht ($133) in fines and leave the country.
The police were alerted after a Thai reporter shared a photo of the crime scene on social media. In the picture, one CNN reporter was inside the area that was closed off, while her colleague was outside.
A fired police officer carried out the attack on Thursday, killing no less than 23 youngsters.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) expressed outrage over the picture and questioned whether the international media “would have behaved in the same way at a severe crime scene in the United States.”
The FCCT declared, “This was unethical and a major violation of media standards in reporting crime.
— FCCThai (@FCCThai) October 8, 2022
Executive vice president and general manager of CNN International, Mike McCarthy, expressed regret. In order to enter the daycare center, their personnel reportedly initially “sought permission” from health officials, according to him. “they now understands that these officials were not authorized to grant this permission.”
“If the team had understood that the building and its rooms were off limits, they would not have entered. It was never their intention to contravene any rules,” Mr McCarthy wrote in a statement.
“The team gathered footage inside the center for around 15 minutes, then left. During this time, the cordon had been set back in place, so the team needed to climb over the fence at the center to leave,” tweeted the foreign media.
— CNN International PR (@cnnipr) October 9, 2022
The vice president of CNN further revealed that the staff member’s footage had been taken down from the website.
At such a trying moment for the nation, he continued, “We sincerely regret any anguish or offense our report may have caused and for any burden to the police.”