The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the authorities in Thailand to allow journalists reporting in the country to import and use body armour.
Under current Thai law it is illegal for journalists – domestic and foreign – to obtain and possess body armour, such as vests and helmet.
In a letter to the Thai prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the IFJ has expressed its fears for the safety of journalists covering increasingly perilous developments in Thailand.
Protests in the capital, Bangkok, have already erupted in violence between anti-government protesters and security forces. These are expected to worsen in the next couple of weeks ahead of next month’s election.
The letter, signed by the IFJ president Jim Boumelha, says: “We are deeply worried about the risks to media who cover the political crisis in Bangkok.
“At least one photographer has already been injured by a rubber bullet while covering clashes in December last year and two foreign reporters were shot dead in political protests in 2010, which also injured and several other foreign and Thai journalists…
“Your government should implement a fast-track system so that as many journalists as possible can be safely equipped to perform their work before the planned shutdown announced for 13 January during which clashes are expected.”