Foreign media members on Sunday said they accepted an order by Thai authorities to move out of area outside the Tham Luang cave as evacuation of the footballers begins.
Foreign media are being evacuated four kilometres from the cave to ensure clear access. Journalists will be housed at the Tambon Pong Pha Administrative Organisation Office on Phaholyothin Road.
The 12 teens and their football coach assistant have been trapped in the flooded cave since June 23, with experts from international allies joining with Thais to rescue the team in a race against water and time.
Local and international media have converged at the cave to keep the world up-to-date with the latest developments.
Six days after the footballers were found safe deep in the cave network last Monday, authorities on Sunday launched the evacuation operation to bring them out.
Spanish television reporter Biel Calderon said he didn’t mind the request that media move out of the way of officials and rescuers during the high-risk extraction.
Calderon agreed that a large group of media could harm the efficiency of the rescue operation and cause delays. He said he understood that there were reasons for such a request in the life-and-death situation and media needed to respect it.
Russian TV reporter Andrey Pashin, who had been covering the story for the past four days from the cave entrance, said he felt positive about the authorities regulating the large number of media in the vicinity to ensure the rescuers are not blocked.
He hoped that, without a continuing media presence in the area, officials could work more efficiently and more quickly rescue the trapped youths
Pashin said he wasn’t much worried much getting film for his news coverage, because he believed that officials were working to address the issue. He hoped that the Thai authorities would ensure all media have equal access to information and pictures and that any news and images obtained by journalists would be pooled and shared among all other media workers.
The Thai authorities on Saturday began limiting the media’s access at the front of the cave, but some journalists had ventured under the rope fence to report the news.
This led to an official order being issued at 7am on Sunday to reclaim the area outside cave. Media members, along with volunteers and officials not vital to the rescue efforts, were to be cleared from and kept way from the area by 9am.
Many reporters negotiated to remain, while others moved as ordered to crowd the Tambon Pong Pha Administrative Organisation Office area.