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Thailand’s Supreme Administrative Court has issued a binding injunction which freezes a bank guarantee issued in favour of Thai TV. The action has the effect of protecting the guarantee for Thai Baht 1.97 billion ($57m) and for the moment keeping the cash save from demands made by the country’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
The problem stems from the closure of two digital channels launched by Thai TV as part of the launch of the nation’s digital terrestrial TV scheme. The NBTC is claiming TB 1.74 billion unpaid to the Commission due for the auction process for new digital channels.
The Thai TV was issued by the Bangkok Bank.
Thai TV is arguing that the closure of the two channels, and its own losses in mounting the broadcasts, was caused by the NBTC because the Commission failed to effectively promote digital TV in place of analogue transmissions.
Thailand’s Supreme Court ruled that until a determination could be made as to who was responsible for the termination of the TV channels then NBTC had no right to demand payment under the bank guarantee.
The two channels (Loca, for kids, and Thai TV for news) went on air on December 1st 2015 following the issue of broadcast licenses in early 2014. The channels went dark within weeks, going off air on February 4th 2016.