June 24, 2014 00:00 By Usanee Mongkolporn, Watchiran
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has considered asking the National Council for Peace and Order to scrutinise its annual budget and expenditure this year in order to show its transparency, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith
The NBTC, which set a budget of around Bt4 billion this year, has been publicly criticised for spending too much – including on international trips and hiring advisors.
Takorn said that he had proposed the NCPO's legal sub-committee oversee the annual budget.
Meanwhile, the NCPO yesterday sent a letter to the NBTC allowing it to hold a public hearing into the plan to give away vouchers to households so people can buy digital TV equipment to watch digital TV channels.
This suggests that the junta has formally given the NBTC the go-ahead to implement the voucher plan after the NCPO last week ordered the communications watchdog to suspend four projects, including the voucher distribution plan, pending its probe of the projects.
In a separate matter yesterday, the NBTC ordered digital TV channel Thai TV to adjust its content to comply with digital TV licensing regulations.
Natee Sukonrat, chairman of NBTC’s broadcasting committee, said the committee had found that Thai TV’s news channel had only 39 per cent news content while its family channel, Loca, contained only 13 per cent of informative content.
According to NBTC licensing regulations, a news channel’s content must be at least 50 per cent of its total content, with the figure 25 per cent for a family channel.
Natee said Thai TV had to adjust the content within seven days.
Preecha Vasanakulpanit, managing editor of Thai TV and Loca, said that the station would be happy to discuss the matter with the broadcasting committee and work with it to make the channels compliant.
Thai TV’s main owner is Pantipa Sakulchai, who also owns entertainment magazine TV Pool.
Meanwhile, the broadcasting committee yesterday approved 57 free-to-air satellite TV channels becoming pay-TV channels and allowed them to resume operations after the NCPO ordered all free-to-air satellite TV channels suspend on May 22, the day of the coup.
Now there are 42 satellite TV channels waiting for the NBTC sub-committee on consumer protection to approve their plan to become pay-TV channels before the sub-committee sends the approvals to be considered by broadcasting committee.
The other 19 channels need to re-submit a tape-recording of their programmes so they can be re-considered by consumer protection sub-committee and another 21 channels needs to re-submit the document to apply for being a pay-TV channel.