THAILAND: Politically incendiary TV, radio content to be banned
Proposed regulations would require cable and satellite TV channels to receive permission before airing a program
Incendiary political content on community radio and satellite TV stations will be banned under proposed regulations issued by the National Telecommunications Commission.
The government said it would enforce the changes evenly against any broadcaster which offends, including the red shirt-run DStation and yellow shirt-owned ASTV satellite TV stations.
Prime Minister's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said the regulations would allow the NTC to take action against community radio and satellite TV stations which air content deemed to undermine democracy.
The regulations require cable TV and satellite TV channels to seek permission for each programme being aired, Mr Sathit said.
"Once the regulations take effect, any broadcast station airing content deemed to be politically incendiary won't be allowed to operate."
An NTC sub-committee has held public hearings on the regulations for community radio stations, and would soon hold hearings for satellite TV stations.
The sub-committee is taking into account suggestions from the public. Revised regulations are expected in June.
He said a decision on whether to allow DStation, the TV channel run by the pro-Thaksin United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, to resume broadcasting would depend on the station's programme content. "The station would be allowed to resume operations, if it wants to run general news reports.
"The regulations will be enforced even-handedly against all satellite stations."
Meanwhile, a group of UDD supporters yesterday demanded clarification of a report that the Nakhon Ratchasima Transport Office had barred public buses from carrying passengers outside the province last Sunday, upsetting the travel plans of its supporters.
A bus driver forced 50 UDD supporters heading to a rally in Bangkok to get off the bus in Sikhiu district.
Wattana Phattharachon, director of the Nakhon Ratchasima Transport Office, denied issuing such an order.
The driver refused to take the 50 UDD supporters to Bangkok because the bus owner was concerned about the vehicle's security.
Asia Media (UCLA) May 14, 2009