Disgruntled emcee quits junta show

politics April 16, 2018 01:00


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Pawaran cites 'working attitudes' for exit

AN EMCEE of a junta-run famous TV programme said her resignation from the programme was due to “different working attitudes” while the junta government denied any involvement with the production.

Pawaran Bannarak announced her decision to quit “Thailand Moves Forward Teenage Edition” on Saturday. “Because I love being an emcee so much, I can’t afford to make a half-hearted effort so I decided to resign,” Pawaran said on her Facebook account.

“The programme will continue. Everything will be the same except a female host. I would like to give courage to whoever is going to take my place,” she added.

Her sudden exit brought the 28-year-old former emcee support and criticism for the weekly programme run by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). While the formal, half-hour version of “Thailand Moves Forward” has been aired every evening on every TV broadcasting channel, its 15-minute version for teenagers was launched in late February with the goal of promoting governmental work among younger audiences.

Known for being keen on PR, though in what some consider an “old-fashioned” way, PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered a revamp of “Thailand Moves Forward” once in 2016 after its ratings slumped. Its teenage edition could also be considered part of the revamp and the “modernising” of the programme.

Despite all efforts, “Thailand Moves Forward Teenage Edition” has been widely mocked for seemingly going against everything that the young generation likes – from production, costumes, stylists and emcee scripts.

“They look like production for 1990s teenagers, not 2018,” one comment said. “I understand that the emcees did their best but the programme’s mood and tone is wrong at all levels.”

Pawaran said later yesterday that she was not blaming anyone for her resignation, including the production team. “My disappointment is also partly because of my own expectations that may not align with those of the team. Please don’t view me as being disrespectful to them,” she said.

She also reiterated that her payment – a meagre Bt2,910 – to host an episode of a programme with a multi-million-baht budget was not the reason why she wanted to leave.

The programme’s budget has been set as Bt18 million with six contracts with private production companies, each worth Bt2.66 to Bt3.33 million, and Bt500,000 to hire a sign language interpreter.

Government Spokesperson Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that Pawaran’s exit should not affect the junta directly as the NCPO only provides content guidelines to the production team.

“Broadcasters take turns to be in charge of the programme’s production and the NCPO doesn’t take part in that. Therefore, her resignation has nothing to do with us,” said Sansern, who is now also heading the Government Public Relations Department.

NCPO spokesperson Colonel Winthai Suvaree added that Pawaran’s decision to resign should be seen as related to production management and not its content.