Hiroyuki Muramoto, a Japanese cameraman working for the Reuters news agency, was fatally shot today in Bangkok during armed clashes between government troops and “Red Shirt” supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It has not been determined where the shots came from, with each side blaming the other for clashes that left at least 13 dead and more than 500 wounded.
Muramoto was shot in the chest while covering clashes in the Rajdumnoen Road area of the capital.
Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger said: “I am dreadfully saddened to have lost our colleague Hiro Muramoto in the Bangkok clashes. Journalism can be a terribly dangerous profession as those who try to tell the world the story thrust themselves in the centre of the action. The entire Reuters family will mourn this tragedy.”
Reporters Without Borders calls for an independent investigation into Muramoto’s death, with both an autopsy and a ballistic study conducted in a transparent manner and, if necessary, with the assistance of foreign experts.
“This investigation must be carried out at the highest level of the military command with the aim of establishing whether the troops used live rounds, because rubber bullets and tear gas grenades are normally used for riot control,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Members of the Red Shirts yesterday said they had recovered army combat weapons. Reporters Without Borders urges the investigators to look into this claim and into the possibility that the fatal shots came from the protesters.
Muramoto is the first journalist to be killed in Thailand since 2008.
(Photo : AFP)