Voice TV suspended for 15 days during election campaigns

The national broadcasting regulator has suspended Voice TV for 15 days effective from today (12 February) onward for broadcasting programmes that "caused confusion and societal division". The Voice TV CEO said the matter will be taken to the Administrative Court. 


Makin Ployplai's statement after the suspension
Source: Voice TV

The national broadcasting regulator said that the decision was in accordance with NCPO order No. 97/2557 on public broadcasting. Voice TV reports that the decision was unanimous.

Earlier today, Sirote Klampaiboon, a political analyst for Voice TV, posted on facebook a condemnation of the suspension:

“The closer to the election date, the more freedom the press should have to do its work. But today Voice TV may be suspended for 15 days. The screen will be black, meaning that when you turn on the TV, none of our programmes will be there.

I don’t know if there are people in power ordering the organization involved to suspend us, but this is a disgusting use of state power to menace the people. It is especially so when they want to continue their government, send ministers to set up parties to support their own faction, and when the PM candidate of Phalang Pracharat has made phone calls to force every TV channel to broadcast his one-sided talks for 5 years.”    

Sirote Klampaiboon
Source: Facebook

According to Nielson and TV Digital Watch, Voice TV's ratings have risen significantly. In January 2018, Voice TV was the 25th with the worst rating of 0.019. But in January 2019, it has skyrocketed to the 16th with a rating of 0.064.


Nielson Rating of Voice TV until Jan 2019
Thanks for courtesy of TV Digital Watch

In 2014, Voice TV was suspended for 27 days from 20 May to 15 June. Last year, some of its programmes were suspended again for 7-15 days from March to April for broadcasting “sarcasm” against the national leader and "causing confusion and societal division".

Makin Petplai, the CEO of Voice TV, made an announcement today saying that restricting access to information during an election campaign will not benefit the people of Thailand. Repeatedly affected financially since the coup in 2014, he said that the matter will be be taken to the Administrative Court. During the suspension, he said he is okay with the idea of broadcasting some programmes online and will commit to continue reporting facts and offering analysis in a liberal democratic manner.