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Consumer group urges GMM boycott over Euro fiasco

An umbrella agency representing consumers yesterday called for a nationwide boycott of entertainment programmes produced by GMM Grammy to protest at its failure to broadcast Euro 2012 soccer matches via True Visions subscription channels.

In an open letter, the Confederation of Consumer Organisations, Thailand (CCOT), called on consumers to lodge a classaction civil lawsuit demanding a blanket broadcast of live football matches on all available channels. The group did not state its views on True Visions, or say what action it would take in regard to True.

CCOT chairwoman Bunyuen Siritham said the boycott was needed as a countermeasure against a conglomerate that lacked good governance in its publicservice policies. She called on consumers to stop buying songs and magazines produced under the GMM Grammy label and to stop listening to or watching any of its programmes on radio and free or satellite TV channels.

The chairman of the Foundation for Consumers, Saree Aongsomwang, said a large number of households in Thailand had been deprived of their basic right to watch freeTV programmes, and all government agencies and regulatory bodies had completely failed to protect their rights. She said a request for an injunction ordering GMM Grammy to allow all channels to air the remaining Euro 2012 matches would also be made along with the lawsuit.

Law lecturer Kaewsan Atibodhi directed blame at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) for failing to regulate the situation, while GMM Grammy and Channels 3, 5 and 9 had violated Article 47 of the Constitution. The article upholds the principle against limiting people's basic right to access media. He said judicial action was now needed to take care of the issue.

TrueVisions and GMM Grammy are under fire for their failure to strike a deal before the tournament began earlier this month ensuring the airing of all Euro 2012 matches. The two conglomerates have been equally blamed by subscribers and critics alike for the socalled "dark screen" issue, while regulatory bodies such as the NBTC have been exposed as powerless. The government's consumer protection mechanism also failed completely to take action against the firms, Kaewsan said.


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