National Journalist Day in Thailand Date in the current year: March 5, 2024

National Journalist Day in Thailand On March 5, all media professionals in Thailand celebrate their professional holiday, National Journalist Day (Wan Nakkhao), also known as National Mass Media Day. It was established to commemorate the foundation anniversary of the Reporters’ Association of Thailand.

The Reporters’ Association of Thailand was established on March 5, 1955 by Thailand’s 15 leading journalists. On March 2, 2000, it merged with the Newspapers Association of Thailand to form the Thai Journalists Association (TJA), an independent media NGO that represents the interests of Thai journalists. Since the Reporters’ Association of Thailand is the predecessor of the TJA, Thai media professionals celebrate its foundation anniversary as their professional holiday.

Every year on March 4, members of the Thai Journalists Association gather for an annual congress, and the next day, March 5, is completely dedicated to National Journalist Day celebrations. Initially, both events were held at the TJA headquarters, but as the number of participants increased from year to year, the Association began to rent hotels that can accommodate all delegates.

Back in the day, newspapers used to give their employees an extra day off on the occasion of Journalist Day, and so daily newspapers weren’t issued on March 6. However, some newspapers decided to release the March 6 issue in order to reach a wider audience while their competitors are taking a day off. Naturally, editors of others newspapers didn’t want to lose their readers, and so the tradition ended.

Thailand can boast of a well-developed media sector, especially for a Southeast Asian country. The most popular medium in Thailand is television; according to statistics, almost 80% of the country’s population rely on it as their primary news source. Major TV stations are owned and controlled by the Thai government or/and the Royal Thai Army. In addition, the country has over 500 radio stations.

There are both state and privately owned newspapers and magazines in Thailand, ranging from serious newspapers covering business and politics to sensationalist tabloids. They include mass circulation dailies, quality dailies, business dailies, sports dailies, semi-weekly newspapers, weekly newspapers, monthly newspapers, etc. In addition to newspapers and magazines in Thai, there are media in English, German and Chinese.

One of the biggest issues that Thai media have to face is government and military censorship, especially after the 2014 coup. In 2015, four of the country’s professional media organizations issued a joint statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. They demanded that the military government revoke restrictions for the press and relieve pressure on the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

Unfortunately, it had little effect. In 2017, Freedom House ranked Thailand 165 in its Freedom of the Press report, labeling the country’s press as “not free”. Two years later Reporters Without Borders ranked Thailand 136 of 180 nations in press freedom. Generally, print media have less restrictions than television channels and websites, but they’re also less popular.

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National Journalist Day in Thailand, holidays in Thailand, professional observances, Thai Journalist Association, media in Thailand