Thai authorities bar red-shirt TV from going on air

Thai authorities have suspended the broadcasting license of a TV station affiliated with the anti-establishment red shirts for allegedly showing programmes which are threats to national security.

Natee Sukonrat, the chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand (NBCT)’s Broadcasting Committee revealed on his Facebook profile on Monday that the NBCT had decided to suspend the broadcasting license of Peace TV, a TV station affiliated with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), a red-shirt group.

Natee said that the NBTC’s Broadcasting Committee members decided to withhold Peace TV’s licence because the TV station repeatedly broadcast inappropriate programmes, which are sensitive to national security.

In early April, NBTC issued an order to suspend for seven days the broadcasting signals for Peace TV and TV 24, two TV stations affiliated with UDD.  Peace TV was barred from going on air from 10 to 16 April while TV 24 faced the same prohibition from 11 to 17 April.

Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC Secretary-General, said on 12 April that the content of the programmes Mong Klai Khid Rob Dan (Having Worldly Visions), Doen Na To Pai (Keep Walking Ahead), and Khaojai Trong Kan Na (We Share the Same Understanding) on Peace TV, and of Awakened, News Room, and Clear on 24 TV caused public confusion and divisiveness and incited conflict.

The programmes of the two stations violated the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcements Nos. 97/2014 and 103/2014, Takorn added.  

Announcement No. 97/2014 of the NCPO states that all media outlets are prohibited from criticising the coup-makers and presenting information which contravenes the junta’s measures to maintain national security.

However according to Announcement No. 103/2014, which was issued to amend certain clauses of Announcement 97/2014, ‘honest’ and ‘constructive’ criticism of the junta is allowed, but any information discrediting the coup-makers is still prohibited and people who violate the announcement will be investigated.

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