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'Suspended' TV channels ordered to be renamed

Junta wants content changes, among other things, before they can go on air

The National Council for Peace and Order has suggested that the suspended "political" satellite TV stations be renamed and their TV programmes reshuffled to be in accordance with the junta's Order No 97/2557 on media outlets, which bans dissemination of information that would "confuse people" or "cause or widen conflicts".

Any media that disseminate false information with the aim of discrediting the NCPO would be investigated by professional organisations.

The 12 politically leaning satellite TV channels, whose broadcasts were suspended after the May 22 coup, will continue to be off the air to avoid creating new conflicts in society, according to a source at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The channels are MV5, DNN, UDD, Asia Update, P&P, 4 Channel, Bluesky, FMTV, ASTV, Hot TV, Rescue, and a station operated by the Students' and People's Network for Thailand's Reform.

The NBTC source said the head of the junta's media committee had not made any decision to give a green light to those political satellite-TV stations that were suspended after the military seized power from the previous elected government.

The source was speaking after a meeting at the NBTC head office between executives from those satellite TV operators and the head of the junta's media committee along with NBTC executives.

The source said those satellite-TV operators must submit a proposal to the NCPO before the NBTC could grant approval.

The politically leaning satellite channels were shut down along with more than 4,700 licensed public and community radio broadcasters that were suspended after the coup. However, the NCPO and the NBTC agreed that all of those radio stations could resume operations.

Strategic committee sought

Separately, the Radio-Television Broadcasting Professional Federation, led by Jamnan Siritan Nunbhakdi of JSL Global Media, yesterday submitted a letter to the NCPO calling for the setting up of a strategic committee to solve problems related to digital TV.

The group said the transition from analog to digital TV should be placed on the national agenda. Meanwhile, a joint committee working on promoting the transition should be set up and work until 2017.

The group and some digital terrestrial TV operators recently opposed a scheme to give away vouchers worth only Bt690 for the purchase of digital set-top boxes or television sets with built-in digital tuners, saying their value was insufficient.


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