NBTC decides on top penalty because producers guilty of not censoring show
Channel 3 operator Bangkok Entertainment Company (BEC) has been fined Bt500,000 by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) for allowing a female contestant to paint on canvas with her bare breasts on the Sunday episode of its prime-time show “Thailand’s Got Talent”.
Perapong Manakij, chairman of NBTC’s subcommittee on programming and content, said yesterday that the TV station had failed to cut inappropriate content in its prime-time programme, so a high fine had to be levied in line with Article 37 of the 2008 Broadcasting Act.
The resolution was approved in a special NBTC meeting at which executives from the channel and the show’s producers Work Point Entertainment explained their action. Perapong added that executives from both agencies had admitted to making mistakes in terms of censoring the show.
If the mistake is repeated, Perapong said, NBTC had the power to order MCOT, which grants the broadcasting concession contract, to force BEC and ThaiTV3 to remove the show or terminate its contract with BEC.
Pravit Maleenont, senior executive vice president and executive director for television business at BEC, said that he was sincerely sorry for this mistake and promised it would not be repeated. The company was implementing all measures needed to prevent such problems in the future, he added.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome yesterday called on the show’s producers and the television station to take responsibility for allowing the contestant to go bare breasted on television, while police are investigating whether the incident falls under the frame of lewd acts.
Police spokesman Piya Utayo said Metropolitan Police that if it is deemed a lewd act, the police would punish those who had supported the contestant to behave in this way.
Sukumol said the matter needed urgent action because inappropriate images had been shown to the public on a television programme that had been given the “thor” rating for general viewing and was broadcast during prime time. She insisted that all parties work together to improve the content of the show, adding that the producers and Channel 3 should apologise for broadcasting inappropriate content.
Rather than focusing on the life of Duangjai Jansaunoi, the 23-year old contestant, she said society should look at the channel’s censoring procedure, because it was obviously not being respected. She said she hoped this would not happen again as it affected the country’s image.
Declining to comment about allegations that the nude model had been hired to bare her breasts on television to boost the show’s ratings, Sukumol said it was unclear and society should allow all sides to explain themselves.
Narathip Phumsab, member of the Moral Promotion Centre’s board, said this was a major concern and it should not just be blamed on the media – organisers and everybody involved should take responsibility.