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Govt denies pulling controversial TV show

Government figures yesterday denied any political intervention in the abrupt termination of a controversial soap opera on Channel 3, which was unexpectedly replaced last night with a new drama series.

Channel 3 announced in an onscreen message last night that "Nua Mek 2" (Above the Clouds 2) had been replaced earlier than scheduled because of "inappropriate" content. The issue quickly became a hot topic in the social media. The storyline of "Nua Mek 2" features corrupt politicians as villains. Rumours, especially on social media, have it the soap opera was cut short at the orders of "people in power" who were "stung" by its content.

Suranand Vejjajiva, the prime minister's secretary-general, yesterday insisted that the government had never interfered with any TV drama or news report. "The prime minister has nothing to do with" the abrupt end of the drama, he said in a phone interview with The Nation.

PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn, who oversees Channel 3's concession, said earlier that he could confirm there had been no such order from the government. He said he would order the Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand, which granted the concession to Channel 3, to look into the matter.

The original schedule for "Nua Mek 2" called for 12 episodes. Episode Nine aired last Sunday. A 10th episode that was to have been aired last night had reportedly been edited to incorporate elements of what would have episodes 11 and 12, with the 10th instalment set to be the last. But this 10th episode was not aired, leaving the show's story unfinished. The new show, "Raeng Prathana" (Passion) took over the 8.30pm slot.

Actress-turned-producer Sinjai Plengpanich earlier posted on Twitter: "My support goes to Nua Mek 2 production team. It's sure that Nua Mek 2 will end this Friday (Jan 4). If Nua Mek 2 ends last night, it will be Channel 3's shortest soap opera, with only 10 episodes broadcast.

Users of social media reported following a Facebook page belonging to a person close to a member of the production team, who posted: "My friend just edited it, from three episodes to only one. Damn!"


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