I was watching the Al Jazeera Channel on TrueVisions yesterday morning and heard that a news story was coming up about a Thai woman who has started an NGO that helps give meaning to the lives of underprivileged inner-city children in Bangkok by teaching them to play musical instruments.
As I waited to watch this obviously inspiring story, the anchor announced it with the words, “Meanwhile in Thai…” At the sound of the cue word “Thailand”, TrueVisions blacked out the two-and-a-half-minute broadcast, showing in its place the irritating notice “Programming will be resumed shortly.”
What could have been so subversive in a report about an NGO teaching slum children to play the guitar that caused TrueVisions to decide its paying customers should not be allowed to see it? Could it have been the mere fact that it revealed that Thai society is so imperfect as to leave many of its children destitute and uncared-for by the state? The combination of this sort of censorship and the news that TrueVisions will no longer provide HBO or Cinemax prompts me to review whether I should renew my exorbitantly priced subscription.
Fortunately, there are now a number of good English-language online TV options already available in Thailand – and others such as Netflix and Amazon Prime just around the corner.