TV channels protest Army shutdown

national May 22, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Voice TV filed an appeal yesterday with the Army chief against an order for the TV station to suspend its broadcasts.

 The petition was submitted by senior marketing director Phayungsak Charnduayvit to Colonel Anucha Chumkham, the director of the Public Relations Division of the Office of the Army's Secretary.

On Tuesday, the military shut down 14 cable, satellite TV stations, including Voice TV seen as under the control of political groups and stationed personnel in the country’s main TV stations to enforce censorship of news.

The appeal said that Voice TV, owned by the son of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, had been presenting facts straightforwardly, without distorting information to incite unrest. 

Moreover, Voice TV was a new digital free-to-air TV, not a satellite channel that was not supervised by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). Phayungsak said he had asked the Army chief to allow the TV station to resume telecasts as soon as possible because it had sponsors who had already bought its airtime.

Well-known TV host Leena Jungjunya from Hot TV staged a noisy protest at the Peace and Order Maintaining Command yesterday over the POMC’s order to close her satellite TV channel.

Leena went inside the Thai Army Club, where the POMC is located, at noon and shouted remarks critical of Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the POMC.

Leena’s Hot TV station was among satellite TV stations that had their broadcasts banned by the POMC on Tuesday.

Leena said her station did not present provocative or distorted reports but her TV programmes were aimed at educating people.

Leena initially wanted to see only Prayuth, but an Army officer later convinced her to file a complaint with Prayuth's representative.

Meanwhile, the NBTC met with Internet service providers yesterday to seek their collaboration in ensuring online content is in compliance with martial law.

The order of the military’s Peace and Order Maintaining Command sought collaboration from social networks to monitor content and stop messages deemed as insulting to the monarchy or with provocative or false messages. The ICT Ministry will take a lead role in this mission.