Submitted on Fri, 2016-07-22 19:54
A red-shirt TV station faces a month-long blackout imposed for allegedly disseminating content threatening national security. A red-shirt leader says this is the junta’s attempt to silence criticism of the draft charter.
On Thursday, 21 July 2016, the Communication Authority of Thailand (CAT) temporarily revoked the broadcasting license of Peace TV, a TV station run by leaders of the red shirts, claiming that the station disseminated content threatening national security. The blackout started at 0.01 am on 22 July and will last for 30 days.
The revocation is based on three TV programmes which allegedly carried content that breached NCPO Announcements No. 97/2014 and 103/2014, which prohibit dissemination of content that instigates violence and misleads the public. However, the CAT has never disclosed the specific content leading to the revocation.
After receiving the banning order, Jatuporn Promphan, Chair of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), aka the red-shirt movement, said that the station will sue the CAT for 6.3 million baht as compensation, reported Peace TV.
Jatuporn also added that the junta has made various attempts to shut down Peace TV since the station became a public space for those who oppose the junta-sponsored draft charter, further adding that the blackout will intensify dissatisfaction against the junta itself. He also rejected the allegation that Peace TV disseminated content threatening national security and condemned the junta for abuse of power, reported Peace TV.
On the same day, Jatuporn, along with newsreaders and executives of Peace TV, petitioned the Administrative Court to hold an urgent hearing to provide the station with legal immunity. The Court accepted the petition and will summon CAT officials and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) for the hearings, reported Peace TV.
Weng Tojirakarn (left) and Jatuporn Promphan (right), the UDD prominent co-leaders, at the Administrative Court (sorce: Peace TV)