The government insisted yesterday it always treats members of the media fairly and has never barred any of them from performing their duties at Government House.
The office dismissed a claim by a Thai reporter working for a Japanese media outlet that she had been banned from covering news at Government House simply because she had sat cross-legged with a foot raised and pointing towards the podium where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was speaking on Tuesday.
The PM was annoyed by her posture and instructed her to sit in a more appropriate position.
The following day the Government Spokesman Bureau banned that reporter from covering news at Government House. However, it pointed out the ban was not because of the previous day’s incident but because of her misinformed messages posted on social media complaining about her news-covering duties at Government House.
The bureau said the messages and photo posted by the reporter were distorted, resulting in the prime minister being misrepresented.
The reporter tweeted: “The prime minister wasn’t happy a reporter sat cross-legged. Who’s that? Who raised her foot before the premier? Yes, I did. LOL. I was warned. One must sit with both legs pressed tightly together.”
Previously, the reporter also wrote in a satirical tone on social media about chasing after the news at Government House. She likened her position as a reporter waiting for cabinet ministers to emerge from the main building to a dog being shut out of the cool air of a 7-11 convenience store.
Natthriya Thaweevong, director of the bureau, said yesterday it always supported reporters and cameramen at Government House to ensure their work ran smoothly.
The bureau had never had a conflict with any of the dozens of journalists covering news at Government House, she said.
If any proof were needed about the existence of media rights and freedom guaranteed by the bureau, it was that journalists at Government House were often close to highly-placed figures, something not enjoyed in many other countries, said Ms Thaweevong.
Some regulations are even relaxed to make life more convenient for them, she said, noting that Government House journalists are allowed to wait to interview their sources right outside of the building.
Ms Thaweevong said the bureau and Government House journalists were more like friends who enjoyed a friendly and generous relationship.