Alleged irregularities have been found in National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) public relations spending, raising questions over media impartiality.
The NBTC allocated more than 128 million baht for public relations projects from June to October this year, but how the largest portion of the budget, worth 73 million baht, has been spent is allegedly unclear.
NBTC Watch, which monitors how the regulatory body spends its funds, say they are not sure whether the NBTC has used the money to promote its work through news programmes or stories, or through advertising.
Working under the media advocacy group, the ISRA Institute, NBTC Watch says the NBTC has not stated clearly from what media agencies it bought time or space, and when it bought it.
Though the NBTC does not deny it has promoted itself indirectly through news programmes or news print, it cannot avoid questions being asking over whether "this constitutes interference with media agencies", NBTC Watch said.
The researchers also cited Prawit Lisathaphon, a member of the NBTC's telecommunications committee, who revealed the NBTC allegedly spent parts of its budget in order to interfere with editorial content. He said, some newspapers were asked not to report on how NBTC members voted and certain TV and radio media were told not to interview NBTC critics.
Matichon Group has got the bulk of the NBTC public relations budget and, according to NBTC Watch, several news stories in its publications allegedly portrayed the NBTC in a positive light and printed negative ones against those monitoring its role.
Eight of the 11-member NBTC commission voted to approve the controversial third generation (3G) auction which is accused of lacking transparency.
The Administrative Court has summoned representatives from the three companies which won the bidding to appear on Nov 20 to reply to accusations filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.