Upholding the code of ethics during censorship : A qualitative study of strategies used by Thai journalists under the pressure of the military government
Abstract: The aim of this study is to determine whether the interviewed journalists and reporters in Thailand are able to uphold their code of ethics while under the censorship implemented military rule since May 2014. The research is based on 9 empirical interviews with journalists and reporters working in Bangkok, one informant interview, and 9 surveys conducted in the end of the empirical interviews. The theoretical framework of this study is based on McQuail’s Normative Theory of Media and Society, McQuail’s Theory of Pressure and Demands in media organizations and Friedmann’s (Dis)Empowerment model. The research shows that the journalists and reporters have trouble maintaining their code of ethics while working under censorship and military rule, and the majority of them feel the need to self-censor in order to be able to do their work. The interviewees claimed that the pressure to self-censor came both from business, arguing that economic pressure is the reason for self-censorship, as well as from the military government’s restrictions, claiming to not want any troubles with the government as the reason for self-censorship. We conclude that there is a gap between theory and practice that hinders improvement of livelihood and empowerment in the Thai society. This is further confirmed in our created model on external influence.
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