Die-hard red shirts say they won't give up political propaganda station.
PEACE TV may have been forced to suspend its operations for 30 days at midnight on Thursday on the orders of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), but die-hard fans of the station remain committed to its content.
People like Aunt Jew from Pathum Thani province will continue watching the station online. Aged in her 60s, Aunt admits she is quite naive about the Internet.
“Someone will send the links [to the station’s shows] via Line, and I can watch it on YouTube,” she said.
“Really, as a die-hard red shirt, I know what to do with or without the station. It is just a station. No matter what happens, my ideology stays the same. And I’ve already decided how I’m voting on referendum day.”
When the fate of the station was uncertain on Thursday, hundreds of red-shirt supporters including Aunt Jew gathered at the Imperial World department store in Lat Phrao, the location of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and Peace TV, to give moral support.
The red-shirt propaganda satellite channel was suspended for criticising the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and allegedly instigating conflicts that caused divisions in society.
The station will remain off the air for a month unless the Supreme Administrative Court grants an injunction against the NBTC order.
In the meantime, Peace TV executives including UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan will televise shows online including via Facebook Live.
Although worried many fans will not be able to access content online immediately, Jatuporn has expressed confidence the station’s supporters will adapt to the change.
He and other Peace TV executives instructed the station’s reporters to keep producing content as usual.
A reporter at Peace TV, who did not want attribution, said: “We [reporters] are not really impacted. Though the news will not be aired via television, we still have other alternative channels like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.”
She believes YouTube will be a prime channel to broadcast shows, and she is confident Peace TV will still be viewed by a lot of people as many people already watch it online.
Another key UDD figure, TV host Thida Thavornseth, agreed the suspension was not overly worrisome because all Peace TV’s hosts had an online presence.
“We can still do it online via Facebook Video or Facebook Live. We have quite a number of followers,” she said.
Jatuporn said he had been telling viewers for a while to get access to YouTube and Facebook. He did not believe the station would lose large numbers of viewers.