Ire over axing of Nua Mek 2 continues
- Published: 6/01/2013 at 04:10 PM
- Online news:
The Democrat Party has called on the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission to establish whether the prime-time political soap opera "Nua Mek 2" - abruptly pulled off the air by Channel 3 on Friday - is in violation of broadcast regulations.
Mallika Boonmeetrakul, a Democrat deputy spokeswoman, said the matter should be made clear to the public since an executive of Channel 3 was reported to have explained verbally to Peerapong Manakit, an NBTC commissioner, that the station decided to pull off Nua Mek 2 because its content breached the law.
Section 37 of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Operations Act bars broadcast of content that seeks to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, threatens national security or morality, constitutes profanity or harms people's mental or physical health.
But the Channel 3 executive had not clearly explained it to the public. Some even said it was an act of self-censorship for fear of political consequences, she said.
Ms Mallika said that because of heavy criticism of the station on the social media, Dr Kampanart Tansithabudhkun, a psychiatrist who co-hosts Chu Rak Chu Ros television programme also broadcast on Channel 3, posted on his Facebook page that he would stop being the host as long as the soap opera was still off air.
Dr Kampanart said the station's decision to pull "Nua Mek 2" was not acceptable to him. The action taken by Channel 3 showed a total lack of dignity for a mass media group.
Ms Mallika said she expected more criticism would be heard from all concerned, including authors and script writers over the issue.
Pirongrong Ramsutra, an academic on mass communications at Chulalongkorn University, posted on her website that it was unlikely for "Nua Mek 2's" content to have breached Section 37 of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Operations Act.
Ong-art Klampaiboon, a Democrat party list MP, described as nonsensical a comment made by government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak that the station's move was to boost the soap opera's rating.
Mr Ong-art said in his opinion the axing of the soap opera which reflected the traits of politicians and campaigned against corruption was a violation of the right of the people who had followed it enthusiastically.
He agreed that the NBTC should establish if "Nua Mek 2's" content was really in breach of Section 37 of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Operations Act or whether Channel 3 had acted out of fear or influence.
Supinya Klangnarong, an NBTC commissioner for consumer protection, posted on her Twitter page that she disagreed with Channel 3's reasoning that the soap opera might breach Section 37.
If Section 37 was the reason, other soap operas would not have been allowed to go on the air. The NBTC had never used Section 37 to ban any media including an issue involving Channel 11 and the hit soap opera "Raeng Ngao".
Frequent citing of Section 37 would only curtail the freedom of the media to zero or a minus, she said.
"The NBTC promotes self-censorship on the basis of journalistic ethics, not on the climate of fear," Ms Supinya noted.
She said the axing of "Nua Mek 2" was something very unusual.
Tarit Pengdit, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), denied speculation that his agency might have asserted its influence to ban the soap opera.
Banning the soap opera would do no good to the DSI which is considering a request by a group of lawyers for it to investigate the Mass Communcations Organisation of Thailand (MCOT)'s extension of Channel 3's concession for another 10 years, he said.
Mr Tarit said the extension of Channel 3's concession had nothing to do with any soap operas to be aired by the channel.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
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