The leading Thai cable TV company True has published a job ad looking for someone to monitor and censor content related to Article 112 ‘of the Thai constitution’, an apparently mistaken reference to the lèse majesté law or Article 112 the Criminal Code.
a screengrabbed part of the job-ad by True Corporation pcl.
On 25 April, Facebook user ‘Tatthep Deesukon’ posted in the Facebook group Yam Fao Jo (Monitor Watchdog) a screengrab from jobsdb.com, a job ads website, of an advertisement to recruit staff as foreign media censors at True Corporation pcl.
Prachatai checked that the job ad was published on the website on 13 April. The ad says that the objectives of the job are
“to monitor various media to cut out improper content;
to operate controls on the broadcast of news reports on foreign news channels [their emphasis] so that no content contravening the laws or restrictions of Thailand, especially Article 112 of the Thai Constitution, is broadcast and to check the video and audio quality in accordance with the broadcasting standards for television stations under the control of television activities of the NBTC.”
The responsibilities of the job are to
“monitor the signals of all 17 foreign news and shows channels
reporting to on-air staff to immediately cut the programme signal
informing the supervisor
recording the news content of the programmes and reporting to the programming officers daily;
record the daily broadcast programmes, such as foreign news reports about Thailand that must be censored according to the law and technical problems and sound that cannot be broadcast;
summarize the programmes of each channel that must be under continuous surveillance.”
Article 112 of the Constitution deals with the qualifications of ex-senators. The ad appears to have mistaken this for the lèse majesté law, which is Article 112 of the Criminal Code, not the Constitution.
Foreign media broadcasts have often been censored by True. Audiences see a sudden break from regular broadcasting which is replaced by the message ‘Programming will return shortly’.
In 2019, an Al Jazeera (AJ) morning news programme was censored but the details are not known. AJ reporter Wayne Hay said at the time that the news agency knew about the censorship but had never been officially informed by the local broadcaster or the government.
In 2016, AJ reported media censorship in Thailand during the mourning period for King Rama IX when True recruited students online to monitor and help block content from AJ and the BBC.
In 2017, the Monitor Watchdog Facebook page reported that at least 6 foreign media reports had been blocked in 2016-2017. The content ranged from a Cobra Gold opening ceremony and an NGO woman working with poor children to a meatball-eating competition.