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Five journalists who went to cover a roadside bombing in the far-south province of Narathiwat on 19 October were injured by a second bomb that went off around 45 minutes after the first one. Several police officers who had rushed to the scene were also injured by the second blast.
"We voice our support for the injured journalists," Reporters Without Borders said. "Covering such crime scenes is very complex, but the safety of journalists should always be the priority, both for the reporters themselves and for their news organizations.
"In the case of terrorist bombings, it is not uncommon for the initial explosion to be followed by others with the purpose of causing more victims. As well as causing destruction and loss of life, the first bomb serves a lure for drawing reporters and police to the scene to be targeted by a second bomb."
An army patrol was the target of the first of the two bombs in Narathiwat province, which went off at around 11:15 am. The second one exploded in a tree about 100 metres from the first at noon. In all, 11 people were injured, including the five journalists. Two of the paramilitaries later died from their injuries.
The five journalists who sustained injuries are AFP photographer Madaree Tohala (hit by shrapnel in the ear and back), Kreeya Tohtanee of Channel 7, Muranee Mama of the daily Siam Rath, Santhiti Korjitmate of Channel 5 and Pathitta Noosanthad of Thai PBS. They were all taken to Narathiwat hospital.
Thailand's far south is subject to intermittent rebel actions. This latest one follows the suspension of negotiations between the government and rebels at the start of the month. Exploding a second bomb after police and reporters arrive at the scene of an initial bomb blast is a method used by certain Islamist armed groups.
Thailand is ranked 135th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
As part of its mission to defend freedom of information, Reporters Without Borders has developed a package of safety resources for journalists travelling abroad. It includes insurance that covers war risks, a free "Press SOS" hotline for journalists in trouble and a Handbook for Journalists (see the safety package here).
Credit : AFP<br/>