PTV says 'CAT attack' ruined debut

Published on March 2, 2007

Yesterday's inaugural broadcast of PTV, the new satellite television station, turned out to be a dress rehear-sal as the station management failed to secure Internet access to relay the programme from Bangkok to an up-link station in Hong Kong.

PTV management blamed CAT Telecom for refusing to grant the Internet link while the government-controlled service provider claimed it had never received an application for its service.

Despite the technical glitch, station executives turned out in full force for the inaugural ceremony to greet 300 well-wishers and supporters of the Thai Rak Thai Party.

The executives included Veera Musigapong, Jatuporn Promphan and Nattawut Saikua.After three hours of failed attempts to get Internet access, Veera decided on a half-hour demonstration. The session was recorded so that CDs could be distributed to the public.

At the end of the session, the royal anthem was played amid applause and shouts of "Thai Rak Thai Fight!".

Nattawut told reporters he was disappointed that the authorities were treating supporters of the former ruling party as second-class citizens. "PTV management has fully complied with the laws, yet the broadcast is being blocked without justification," he said. He added that a PTV satellite dish for Thaicom broadcast transmission had gone missing and was presumed stolen.

Jatuporn alleged that General Saprang Kalanamitr, junta leader and chairman of CAT Telecom, was behind the attempts to block his station's broadcast.

"Although the inaugural broadcast was blocked by authorities, management will fight on and not back down even if they take our lives," Veera said.

CAT Telecom senior executive vice president Jirachai Srijohn said PTV had failed to request Internet access. "We could not lease the Internet access because we did not receive a [request] letter from PTV," he said.