Thai news anchor Judd Thima of Channel One31 of Thailand publically apologized to the government and people of Laos for having insulted the country and tarnished the reputation of its health system on public television.
The Thai news editorial team officially expressed their apologies to Lao Ambassador to Thailand Seng Soukhathivong, who welcomed and accepted their apology, at the Embassy based in Bangkok.
The news anchor’s emotionally charged comments about the reason why Laos has no officially confirmed COVID-19 cases caused a huge uproar among Lao social media a few days ago. Judd Thima made it appear that he doubted Laos’ claim that the latter had no confirmed cases, while other ASEAN countries had numerous infected persons.
Many Lao celebrities, including a physician at the Ministry of Health, Nang Chandaly, denounced the slander as divisive and unwarranted.
Lao Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice-President Valy Vetsaphong, also a prominent health industry advocate, admits that there is room for improvement in the system but that the Lao government is doing everything it can to contain the outbreak and test as many individuals suspected of being infected as possible.
An extract from the translated version of the apology letter reads as follows:
“Channel One 1’s editorial department has investigated and found that at present Laos remains free of COVID-19 cases. The Prime Minister of Laos has been constantly and closely monitoring the situation and has put in place tight measures and procedures that are in accordance with international standards, all the while taking into account, both locals and foreigners.”
Here is the full apology from the channel (in Thai language).
Here is the original clip of the anchorman’s remarks that sparked a social media frenzy (in Thai language).