Thai authorities summon TV station over program on Deep South talk

The Thai broadcasting authorities warned a TV station over broadcasting a program on the Deep South peace talk, saying that the program could lead to conflict and confusion.

According to PPTV News, the the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission of Thailand (NBCT) on 26 June 2015 issued a letter to PPTV station to summon the executive board members of PPTV for a discussion over a TV program titled ‘the Secret Discussion to Put an end to the Southern Fire’.

The TV program was about a planned peace talk between the Thai authorities and the southern insurgent movements, which have been stalled since the the end of the civilian rule after the 22 May 2014. It was broadcasted on 23 June 2015 evening.

The NBCT mentioned in the summon letter that the programme’s content might violate Article 37 of the 2007 Act to Assign Radio Frequencies and Regulate Broadcasting and Telecommunication Services, which states that that the NBTC shall refer to Article 27 of the Act to fine or issue notifications to TV stations which broadcast inappropriate content prior to suspending broadcasting licenses.

Moreover, the TV station could also be liable for violating NCPO announcement No. 97/2014 on cooperation with the NCPO and No. 103/2014 on the distribution of information which could incite conflicts and cause confusion in the society, the NBCT’s letter stated.

Kemmatat Ponladech, the executive board member of PPTV clarified on 3 July 2015 through PPTV News website he is confident that the his station did not do anything wrong.

He mentioned that the station has always maintained ethical principles in representing various point of views in reporting in order not to be biased and misguide people in the society.

“Up to now, the state security agency, the government, the press association, and media profession organisations have not said anything that the content of the program was false or harmful to national security. So, I think that there is nothing wrong with the news program because we presented the information from both sides without referring to any specific party,” said Kemmatat.

Recently, Satien Wiriyanpanpongsa, a reporter of PPTV, posted on his facebook profile that after the discussion with the NBCT and the PPTV executive members, it is confirmed the program does not violate the NCPO’s orders. However, the NBCT warned that the station should think about the effects that an indebt news concerning national security might have on the military’s strategies.  

According to Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the Broadcasting Committee, on principles the media outlets direct and balance themselves when it comes to news reporting.

She added that the NBCT should also consider if it’s measure is appropriate or not.

On 29 June 2015, the NBCT summoned for discussion the executive board members of Thai PBS over a TV news programme called “the Analysis of the Movement of the Student Activists under the Governance of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)”, a TV programme on the 14 anti-junta student activists, which was broadcast on June 28.

The TV programme presented background on the 14 embattled anti-junta activists most of whom are students, such as the Dao Din Group from northeastern Khon Kaen Province, which together with local villagers has long been engaged in activities against a gold mine in Loei Province.

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