Radio operators make their case at NBTC public hearing

Economy July 21, 2012 00:00


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Amid a heated public hearing, radio operators had mixed opinions about the draft rules for a trial radio operation for public-service, commercial and community-based purposes, and technical standards of radio transmission presented by the National Broadca

 More than a thousand representatives from radio stations in Bangkok and the provinces attended the public hearing.

The hearing became heated after a group of representatives from radio stations that had not yet registered with the NBTC opposed the draft, as they strongly believed these rules could limit their freedom to operate their own stations.

Some of them also urged the NBTC to open a new registration to allow them to operate radio stations and air programmes on a trial basis like the 6,601 community radio operators that had already registered with now-defunct National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) over the past two years.

NBTC deputy secretary-general Prasert Aphiphunya said the watchdog now had more than 7,000 registered radio operators airing programmes via the AM and FM radio frequencies of MCOT, the Royal Army, the Public Relations Department, the Royal Navy and registered community radio operators.

Last year, the NBTC extended the airing of programmes on a trial basis by registered radio operators for almost a year after the NTC’s protection scheme expired in January. Registered operators were thus able to air their programmes legally.

Prasert said that according to the draft rules, about 7,000 registered operators would also be allowed to run their programmes legally on a trial basis for another three years after the rules come into effect by the end of this year.

However, a representative of a community radio station in Udon Thani suggested that the trial period should be cut to one year for more rapid transformation in the radio industry.

Prasert said the watchdog would collect all comments from the public hearing and revise the draft before submitting it for the NBTC board’s approval soon. The watchdog expects to implement the rules by end of this year.

He said the board would also consider whether to open new registration for hundreds of unregistered community radio stations.