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Channel 3 can keep running on pay TV for 100 days: NBTC panel

THE BROADCASTING regulator says it will allow pay-TV platforms to air Channel 3 analog programmes for another 100 days to ensure broad access to news while the country is in crisis.

The broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission held an urgent meeting yesterday, two days before the NBTC was due to testify at the Administrative Court after being sued by Bangkok Entertainment over its "must carry" rules.

Committee chairman Natee Sukolrat said the analog channels were still important media during this period, so the NBTC board would allow them to be aired on pay TV for another 100 days from May 25. According to the must-carry rule, only digital free TV and analog channels that are simulcast on digital channels can air on pay-TV platforms.

Bangkok Entertainment filed its complaint against the NBTC last Friday, and the court called Channel 3 to testify on Tuesday.

Since Sunday, people have still been able to watch Channel 3 analog programmes via TrueVisions, CTH and GMM Grammy even though the NBTC said all pay-TV platforms should stop running them.

Channel 3 also sent a written warning to TrueVisions last Thursday that it was taking legal action against the NBTC so TrueVisions should not remove the channel from its line-up.

In another development, the broadcasting committee yesterday approved 73 new channels for pay-TV platforms to be added to the 274 existing channels.

All 73 channels were earlier free-to-air channels without NBTC licences that were barred by the National Council for Peace and Order last week.


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