The media clampdown from the new Thai ‘security forces’ and its ‘Peace & Order Maintaining Command’ has angered broadcasters from radio and TV. On May 21st Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecoms Commission closed down more than 3000 regional and local community radio stations saying they were acting on instructions from the Thai army.
Takorn Tantasith, NBTC’s secretary-general, said the commission and the army have jointly shut down 2,000 stations that had not been granted broadcasting licenses, and 1,000 new stations.
However, the TV channels affected by the ban (at least 14 of them) generally switched to web-based availability, but on Wednesday new rules were issued forbidding internet access to the stations. Thai ISPs have been told to deny access to the broadcasters.
Payungsak Charnduayvit, a senior official at VoiceTV, on Wednesday submitted a letter to army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, seeking justice after his station had been banned. “We’ve always complied with all broadcasting rules. We have never distorted facts or done anything to deepen political division.”
However, the rule – at least as it applies to Voice TV and some others – might have little to do with ‘law and order’ but more to do with the fact that Voice TV (a news & variety station) is owned by and managed by the children of Thaksin Sinawatra. VoiceTV won a digital-TV licence early this year and became a free-to-view TV service on April 1.
Leena Jung, owner and anchor of HotTV, a shopping and talk shows channel, also submitted a similar letter to the army chief on Wednesday but in a much more emotional manner.