Thailand slams foreign media for interviewing cave boys

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Thailand slams foreign media for interviewing cave boys
The boys cried when they were told the news of the rescuer's death
The boys cried when they were told the news of the rescuer’s death

(CNN) – Authorities in Thailand have accused foreign media of behaving irresponsibly by interviewing members of a juvenile football team who were trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks before a miraculous rescue.

“I was saddened that the foreign media, whom we assumed understood children’ rights very well as well as the procedures for protecting children and minors, but their standards have turned out to be unexpectedly substandard,” Tawatchai Thaikyo, the country’s Deputy Permanent Secretary for Justice said in a Facebook post.

He urged the media to use the same guidelines used when interviewing minors as those followed in legal proceedings which, in Thailand, require a psychologist to be present during questioning “to stop opening the wound laid deep inside the hearts of children and minors. They are at the age of fragility and they must be protected.”

Before the member of the Wild Boars team were released from hospital last week, local authorities asked Thai and foreign journalists to refrain from approaching the boys for interviews in order to safeguard their mental health.
Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Province released a statement on Saturday announcing that the Governor, Prachon Prachsakul, had assigned a task force to “discuss measures to protect the Wild Boar’s football team’s child rights, under the nation’s Child Protection Act.”

The move “follows reports by some foreign media, who interviewed the young members of the Wild Boars football team at their homes after they were discharged from the hospital,” the statement said.

It added that any violation of the Child Protection Act “faces a maximum of 60,000 baht fine ($1,800) or up to six months imprisonment, or both.”

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  1. It is the media that captivated the minds, professional and specialist skills from the world to make this miracle rescue happen. The Thai government has a lesson to learn in its child protection, safeguarding and risk assessment policies. When the media circus has gone, these policies must be in place to assist these boys now and in the future as well as all children. No one has said it but in other parts of the world, this venture would have been seen as RECKLESS because the environment was not risk assessed, parental consent was not sort neither were the children prepared for eventualities. It is the total trust these children have in adults and their naivety that is their saving grace.

    The Thai government is mindful of the enormity this experience will at some point in time have on the children which may result in post-traumatic stress. It is less likely to be under the gaze of the media and where they are showered with attention from family and friends. It is more likely to be at a point of extreme personal stress or when least expected happy, successful events when they are emotionally taken off guard that post- traumatic stress shows its ugly head and they are flooded by suppressed emotions. Let’s hope these boys (young men) are positively supported with mental health services to overcome distress and to lead productive healthy lives.

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