Thai-Cambodian Journalists Vow Reconciliatory Reporting

(6 November) Representatives of the media agencies along the border of Thailand and Cambodia have agreed in a meeting that they will refrain from inflammatory coverage on the issue of Preah Vihear Temple.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is due to deliver its verdict on the ownership of the territory around the ancient temple, which has been claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia, on 11 November.
 
The tension has escalated to armed conflicts that has killed and injured a number of people on both sides of the border. The Union Media of Asean (UMA), a group of media agencies based in the border regions of Thailand and Cambodia, has held meeting in Thailand′s Sa Kaeo province today to find measures to avoid such incidents in the future.
 
Mr. Prasit Saengrungrueang, and Mr. Sok Sovan, Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the UMA from Thailand and Cambodia, respectively, announced that media in both countries have unanimously agreed to present the report regarding the upcoming ICJ verdict in a peaceful and "constructive" manner to maintain peace along their shared 800 km.-long border.
 
The case of the dispute between both nations which resulted in the 2003 mob arson attack on the Thai Royal Embassy in Phanom Penh was cited in the statement as a lesson learned by both nations.
 
"We would also like to tell the government of both countries that the people along the border want peace. They don?t want any conflict," the representatives of UMA said.
 
Mr. Sok Sovan, deputy secretary of the UMA, said that both Thai and Cambodian media must accept the OCJ ruling regardless of its outcome to avoid the repeat of deadly clashes in the past. 
 
"The governments must not use the issue of Preah Vihear Temple to damage the two nations," Mr. Som Sovan said, "Instead, they should focus on developing well-being of the citizens in the border provinces, and promote peace in the region".

Meanwhile, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, said this morning that the army has been working cooperatively with the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in dealing with the approaching decision of the International Court of Justice regarding Preah Vihear Temple.

“Our border links to other countries, and we have both temporary and permanent border points which receive large numbers of people” said the army chief, “when the situation is tough, we must be more cautious. Officials must also patrol the area to create understanding and cooperation between Thailand and its neighbor in every dimension.”

He added, “We must also, at the same time, strengthen our units, and we are now ready to protect our own sovereignty beyond the border.”

Gen. Prayuth stressed that every related authority must take part in solving or discussing about any cases.

“We are a friendly neighbour to the countries surrounding us, hence we will not interfere with their domestic affairs. We must trust each other and avoid the endless fight, as it is our population who are endangered by the clash. We must find the best possible solution to solve the case"

Once the reporter asked whether Cambodia had been reinforcing their military near the border, Gen. Prayuth said that “every country does that, we should not be too worried as both Thailand and Cambodia are closely observing the situation.”

 

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