The Press Council of Thailand, together with publishers, editors and reporters from the country’s independent media, deemed it necessary that the institution remain independent and self-regulated in line with democratic tradition and that a code of ethics be established to ensure professionalism, accountability, and responsibility. The Council supports freedom of expression and the idea that the public should be educated about the world in which they live through independent media. The Council holds the Institution of the Monarchy to be the highest social and political organ in the Kingdom. The following code of conducts was established by the executive board of the Press Council Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997).
Section I: General
- Item 1: The following guidelines will from this point on be referred to as “the code of conduct for journalists, B.E. 2541 (1998)”
Item 2: That this code of conduct be put into effect on the day of the announcement.
Item 3: In this code of conduct, the word “news” refers to the printed text, headlines, photos and the caption that goes with the photos presented in the newspapers. “Newspaper” is defined by the Press Council of Thailand, B.E. 2540 (1997).
Section II: Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Newspapers
- Item 4: Newspapers must hold the truth to be the highest.
Item 5: Newspapers must present news taking into consideration the benefit of the public, not of an individual.
Item 6: Newspapers must be fair to all parties mentioned in the news stories.
Item 7: Newspapers must not make up false stories.
Item 8: A newspaper must be neutral in its presentation with the understanding that bias reporting could results in a legal action taken against the party/parties mentioned in the article.
Item 9: Newspapers must refrain from putting the opinion of the individual reporter in the news article.
Item 10: Newspapers must make references to the source regardless if the information is obtained from a printed text or an individual.
Item 11: When making references that could damage the reputation of an individual, newspapers must give that party the opportunity to state his case.
Item 12: In cases where an error has been committed, newspapers must issue a correction as soon as possible.
Item 13: Newspaper must not present news in such a way that the source of the stories could be revealed.
Item 14: Newspapers must ensure that confidentiality of the source and take into the consideration that the well being of the source could be at stake if the identity of that source is revealed.
Item 15: Newspapers must take into consideration the humanitarian principle and the dignity of an individual person when he or she is being presented in photo or mentioned in news story.
Item 16: Headlines must not be exaggerated to the point that they distort the truth or the news story.
Item 17: Newspapers must use their judgement when presenting photographs that may be violent or pornographic in nature.
Item 18: Newspapers must be just when making references to any party in its editorial or analysis.
Item 19: Advertisements in the newspaper must be presented as paid advertising and not as a news story.
Section III: Code of Ethics for Reporters
- Item 20: Journalists must not violate the integrity of the institution of the independent media and the profession in which he or she works.
Item 21: Journalists must not abuse his/her position or make use of the profession in such ways that would result in obtaining favours.
Item 22: Journalists are prohibited from taking bribes or accepting valuable gifts or favours from sources because it could influence directly or indirectly the content of news reporting.
- Item 23: Journalists must not accept any privilege or position that will influence their professional performance in disseminating correct and comprehensive information.
Item 24: When presenting a news report, newspapers must take into consideration the welfare and the benefit of the general public.
Item 25: Newspapers must obtain information in a dignified manner.
Item 26: Newspapers must not have a hidden motive when expressing opinion or news analysis.
Item 27: Newspapers must take into consideration the rights of an individual and balance it with the public’s right to know.
Item 28: Newspapers must not allow paid advertisements to violate the established code of ethics of their industry and take into consideration the customs and values of the Kingdom.
Item 29: Newspapers must avoid paid advertisements that knowingly distribute false information to the public.
Item 30: Newspapers must not use profanity and avoid obscene gestures in their reporting.