An Australian journalist has filmed an apology video from what appears to be inside a Thai police station over her coverage of the horrific daycare center massacre, which left 37 people dead.
Anna Coren, who is based in Hong Kong with CNN, as well as British cameraman Daniel Hodge, have been charged with trespassing and filming a crime scene without permission in Thailand.
The charges were later dropped, with police accepting that they believed they had permission to enter the building where the attack occurred, although they did not. However, they were fined 5,000 baht (A$210) for working as journalists while on tourist visas.
Coren, a former host of today tonightapologized to the Thai people and the families of the victims in a video.
“We are very sorry to have caused you more pain and suffering. It was never our intention,” she said, placing her hands over her heart.
“We would also like to apologize to the Thai Police and Deputy Chief of Police for the inconvenience we have caused. We know your country is going through such a painful time and we have never come here to cause more grief.
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Mr Hodge then added his apologies ‘for any additional grief we have caused’ during the already traumatic time.
The three-minute CNN report, which has since been deleted online, showed Coren inside the daycare center where she showed viewers bloodstains on the floor.
CNN said public health officials allowed the two reporters into the building, but it turned out they weren’t cleared to do so.
“Had the team understood that the building and its rooms were off-limits, they would not have entered,” CNN International executive vice president and general manager Mike McCarthy said in a statement.
“The team entered the building in good faith, to get a fuller picture of what happened inside and to humanize the scale of the tragedy for their audience,” he added. , saying CNN regretted any distress or offense caused by its reporting.
A photo of the couple at the scene of the horrific massacre has gone viral on social media and sparked outrage in Thailand.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) released a statement criticizing the CNN team for “a serious breach of journalistic ethics in reporting on crime” and shared a photo of them leaving the property, surrounded of a police band.
“This was not a scoop or an example of penetrating reporting because no other news agency, foreign or local, was prepared to behave in this unethical manner, and any of them could have done,” the FCCT said.
“Thailand has been traumatized by this tragedy and there have always been concerns that inappropriate images are not made public in traditional and social media. Simple respect for the deceased and their families is only one reason.
Mr McCarthy said the police tape was installed after the reporters were inside and a gate was also closed which meant they had to scale the fence to get out.
A former policeman, Panya Khamrab, 34, used a gun and knife to kill at least 37 people, mostly children, at the day care center in northeast Nong Bua Lam Phu province last Thursday. Some were only two years old.