Pay-TV operator TrueVisions Tuesday petitioned against an order by the National Broadcast and Telecommunications Commission for it to pay a 20,000 baht daily fine for failing to rebroadcast Euro 2012 football matches.
Pay-TV operators TrueVisions says it is not responsible for this black screen of death for Euro 2012, and it will not pay one satang of the 20,000-baht daily fine ordered by the National Broadcast and Telecommunications Commission.
The move has left thousands of TrueVisions' cable TV customers unable to watch one of the world's most popular football tournaments.
In a petition to the NBTC, TrueVisions said the commission's order was not legitimate as TrueVisions "had not breached any conditions under the Frequency Allocation Act and the Broadcasting and Television Business Act".
A source at TrueVisions told the Bangkok Post that the company will not pay a single baht of the fines ordered by the commission.
"It's not us who decided not to rebroadcast the matches. We were not given the password to gain access to the the tournament licensee's signal," said the source.
GMM Grammy won the rights to broadcast the Euro 2012 matches which run from June 8 to July 1 in Thailand. But it failed to reach an agreement with TrueVisions to rebroadcast the matches for its subscribers, leaving them unable to view the matches.
Grammy has been seeking special approval from the Union of Euro Football Associations (Uefa) to allow TrueVisions to rebroadcast the matches. The request is now pending consideration by Uefa.
Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC secretary-general, said the commission had ordered TrueVisions to pay the fine because it had failed to comply with the NBTC's administrative order that it must show the matches.
"TrueVisions said in its petition that it had not breached the Frequency Allocation Act and the Broadcasting and Television Business Act. That's a different point," he said.
He said if TrueVisions continued to defy its order to pay the daily fine, the commission would file suit against the company in the Administrative Court.
The NBTC has also threatened to set tough conditions for both Grammy and TrueVisions if they ever apply for licences to operate broadcast businesses.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Network, comprising 302 consumer protection groups nationwide, called on the government Tuesday to take action against TV channels 3, 5 and Modernine TV.
The Euro football matches are shown on terrestrial channels of the three free TV stations via conventional antennae and are also viewable through Grammy's own set-top boxes.
The consumer network said the three free TV stations are discriminating against viewers. Those who watch TV via non-Grammy satellite set-top boxes can see only a statement of apology on their screens, it said.
As most people have switched from conventional antennae to satellite dishes, more than 75% of viewers nationwide have not been able to watch the football matches as a result, it said.
"Free TV stations are public services and they cannot discriminate against their viewers. Under the current circumstances, their operating licences must be revoked," the network said.
It also called on the NBTC to issue orders to the three free TV stations to find ways to enable their viewers to view the matches. "The order should not be imposed on TrueVisions, but all of them must be held responsible," it said.
The network also blasted Grammy saying it is monopolising the broadcast of the football matches. "Grammy is not only operating a TV service without a legal licence, it is also monopolising the service," it said.
Grammy said the tournament is under the copyright of the Uefa, and it holds the licence to broadcast the matches in Thailand. As a licensee, it cannot breach the Uefa copyright.
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