12 young footballers and their assistant coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)
 
Bangkok (VNA) - Thai media, reporting on the rescue mission of 12 young footballers and their assistant coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, have been urged to be discreet, respect the privacy of people concerned and to present reports constructively.

In a statement on July 4, the National Press Council of Thailand (NPCT) sought cooperation from members of the media, who have been covering the ongoing search and rescue operations at the Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, to conduct interviews later with the victims and their families. 

This would spare the children from having to repeatedly answer the same questions and allow them to focus on their physical and mental recovery, the press council said.

The NPCT also urged that updates be shared among media members to ensure orderliness, avoiding competition that could affect the rights and privacy of the people concerned. 

The council advised media members to work with doctors and psychiatrists to get a better understanding of the situation at hand, so as to ensure they ask appropriate questions and treat the victims and families properly without creating misunderstandings, disunity, or additional trauma. 

It also warned against digging up information and pictures for “in-depth” news presentations that may violate the victims’ rights, and avoid finger-pointing because news reports should be constructive, finding solutions and preventing any similar reoccurrences. 

Earlier, some media members reportedly tried to pose questions to the boys’ parents until the authorities posted signs prohibiting interviews at the entrance to the cave. 

Following the discovery of the young team on the evening of July 2, some media members wanted to take pictures and have interviews with the parents, despite provincial officials’ attempts to keep them in a separate quarter.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Ministry of Justice spokesman and Permanent Deputy Secretary Thawatchai Thaikhiew warned that the Child Protection Act prohibits anyone from publishing information about minors and their parents with the intent to cause damage. 

He urged media members to be careful when conducting interviews with the footballers, most of whom are children experiencing a traumatic ordeal, so that the questions would not affect their mental state. 

The official said that certain leading questions that promote illegal activity should not be asked, as that would be an offence. The media should let the youths rest sufficiently and undergo health treatments until they are ready.

For its part, the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC), whose members have joined the rescue mission, said in a media update that it had a policy not to confirm the names of the cave rescuers, even though some names have been stated in various media reports. 

The council said it would like the rescuers’ privacy to be respected, allowing them to get on with the difficult task ahead without any distractions. -VNA