Two more broadcast reporters were suspended and one online influencer has been fired as the backlash over the apparently “staged” video, featuring a supposed sex abuse victim of an ailing senior monk in Yasothon province, intensifies.
In a statement issued today, Thai Rath TV said that it had questioned one of its reporters, who joined others in the company of Jiraphan Petkhao on a visit to Luangpoo Waen at Dong Sawangtham monastery in Yasothon province to ask him about the allegation of sexual harassment of the woman in the clip.
The reporter admitted that he was fully aware of the true nature of the video in question, but did not report it to his editor, resulting in errors in the performance of duty as a member of the media that may breach the code of ethics, said the statement.
Jiraphan shot to fame for his voluntary crusade to expose irregularities, especially sexual abuse, by monks in temples and monasteries.
The Thai Rath statement also said the company had decided to suspend the reporter for a week and a panel has been set up to investigate his alleged misconduct.
Meanwhile, Amarin TV ordered the suspension of one of its reporters for 15 days, pending an investigation over his role in the news coverage of Luangpoo Waen and his acknowledgement of the staged nature of the video.
The purported victim in the clip was later found to be a reporter working for Workpoint News, who also joined the other reporters on the visit to Luangpoo Waen. The Workpoint reporter was accused of showing disrespect to the 98-year old monk and was yesterday fired by her company.
The “What a Wonderful App” company also issued a statement today (Saturday), via its Facebook page, announcing the dismissal of Belle Khobsanam as the company’s brand ambassador over his mockery of the monk on social media.
The company said that this is not the first time that the influencer had broken the company’s rules, adding that he has been given several previous warnings.
Reporters from five TV stations were at the monastery to investigate the sexual harassment allegation but all of them allegedly knew the truth about the controversial video.
Doctors at Yasothon hospital said today that the 98-year-old monk suffers from about 10 separate conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and benign prostatic hyperplasia.