A SHOOTING ATTACK on four cars belonging to television station ASTV in Thailand that was carried out by unidentified people early morning of Jan. 26, 2013 has raised serious concern from the Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres or RSF).
“Spraying a news organization’s vehicles with bullets is a serious act,” RSF, a press freedom organization based in France, said in a statement. “The attack is a reflection of the current hostile climate for journalists and those who work in news and information in the country.”
RSF said the investigation being carried out by the authorities “must be concluded quickly so that those behind the crime are held to account for their actions.”
“The authorities must also take action to stem the tide of violence and threats against the media and to protect the right to information,” it added.
According to RSF, the attack took place at the head office of ASTV at the Baan Chao Phraya building, on Phra Athit Road in Bangkok. It was only when ASTV journalists arrived at the site
the following morning that the attack was discovered. Four cars were riddled with bullets, believed to be from a .22 calibre gun, RSF reported.
After checking video surveillance footage, the police police said a man dressed in black was seen approaching the scene about 3:25 a.m. on Jan. 26.
General Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said the motive for the attack was not known, RSF said.
The ASTV group is close to the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which consists of opponents of the current government who are popularly known as the “yellow shirts”.
A few days earlier, RSF said soldiers held a demonstration outside the PAD’s headquarters to protest its criticism of the head of the armed forces, General Prayuth Chan-ocha.
RSF said Gen. Prayuth has denied that any soldiers were involved in the attack on ASTV.