Radio trial run permits granted
All 7,000 registered community-radio stations are expected to be granted one-year-trial permits by March, says the National Broadcasting and Telecommunica-tions Commission.The NBTC yesterday granted permits to 515 registered community-radio operators whose qualifications were approved by the broadcasting committee. Of those, 404 are commercial operators, 67 provide public service, and 44 offer community-based service.
After obtaining the permits, radio operators must comply with the NBTC's regulations and media ethics on social responsibility.
"If they do not violate such laws during the trial period, they will receive permanent licences for another 14 years," Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said yesterday.
This is an attempt by the NBTC to govern the large number of community-radio operators, who have mushroomed during the past decade without any regulator in place. Under such uncontrolled conditions, some stations, particularly those illegally using public radio frequencies, created many problems. For example, aeronautical radio-navigation and mobile communications were disrupted, a potentially life-threatening situation.
From January to September last year, the NBTC received 441 complaints from Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AeroThai) regarding this issue.
Natee said about 700-800 community-radio operators had not registered yet with the NBTC. The registration process has been undertaken over the past two years. The broadcasting committee will soon decide whether to open another round of registration.
Unregistered operators that continue to run their businesses illegally will face legal action.