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True asks court to make NBTC ease 'must carry' rules

True group has petitioned the Central Administrative Court to tone down the "must carry" rules and related channel-numbering regulations of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission, claiming that they are unlawful and caused an unfair financial burden on the company.

True recently informed the NBTC of the court filing.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the broadcasting committee under the NBTC, said yesterday that he doubted whether the court would consider the case, since the must-carry rules were promulgated in July 2012 and it is legally too late for anyone to oppose them.

Under those rules, cable and satellite TV operators have to include the free digital TV channels on their menus.

Clauses in the channel-numbering rules require them to carry some public and commercial digital TV channels, which will be determined by the regulator later.

True argues that the NBTC has no authority to issue such rules, which also cost the company to carry the digital TV channels.

True asked the court to forbid the NBTC from executing any orders based on these rules.

Though True has complied with the must-carry rules since last month, that does not mean the company has accepted them, it says. It has also reserved the right to stop airing the digital TV channels.

Natee said that if the court takes up the complaint, that might have market implications for all 24 commercial terrestrial digital TV stations.


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