Court says Thai authorities’ shut-down of red-shirt TV was unlawful

Thai Administrative Court ruled that an order from the Thai broadcasting authority to shut down a TV station affiliated with a red-shirt group was unlawful.

According to Matichon Online, on Thursday, 16 July 2015, the Administrative Court in Bangkok issued an injunction to allow Peace TV, a TV station affiliated with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), an anti-establishment red-shirt group, to continue broadcasting.

The Administrative Court verdict nullifies an order of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand (NBCT) to shut down Peace TV for allegedly broadcasting programmes that could harm national security.

The court’s verdict stated that the NBCT order was unlawful because it did not allow the TV station the opportunity to respond to the accusations and that the order directly affected many Peace TV staff.

The injunction, however, was granted on condition that the TV station strictly follow the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcements Nos. 97/2014 and 103/2014 and the 2007 Act to Assign Radio Frequencies and Regulate Broadcasting and Telecommunication Services.

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

At the end of April, the NBCT’s Broadcasting Committee announced its decision to suspend Peace TV’s broadcasting license. The TV station has not been allowed to go on air since 30 April 2015.

The NBCT accused Peace TV of breaking NCPO Announcements No. 97/2014 and 103/2014.

According to Jatuporn Prompan, one of the executives of Peace TV and a core UDD leader, the red-shirt TV will go back on air on 20 July 2015.

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