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in-focus

NRSA reform committee at loggerheads over media council


THE MEDIA reform committee has failed to reach a decision on the controversial composition of the media council stipulated in the new draft media regulation bill.

Kanit Suwannet, chairman of the committee under the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), said the committee could not reach a resolution on the issue on Tuesday.
Early this month, representatives of major media organisations submitted a petition to NRSA Vice Chairman Alongkorn Poonlaboot requesting that the committee revisit the draft bill and also remove Kanit as the committee’s chairman.
The media representatives maintained that the draft bill posed a threat to press freedom as well as the public’s freedom to access information. The proposed composition of the media council, including at least four permanent secretaries of ministries, also raised fears about state interference and control.
Following those objections, NRSA whips advised the media reform committee to revise the contentious draft.
Kanit said committee members still had different views on the issue with some saying permanent secretaries should not be included in the council, while others said some should remain or be replaced by representatives from independent agencies.
The committee did agree that a clause concerning the council’s budget and assets might have to be removed because it apparently violated the recently approved new constitution, Kanit said. 
The committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday and immediately submit the draft to the NRSA if it finishes revisions. If the committee fails to do so, the submission may be postponed until next month, he said.
 

Published : February 16, 2017

By : THE NATION