Senate approves 5 new NBTC board members

Senate approves 5 new NBTC board members

Pirongrong Ramasoota, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts, is one of the five board members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Pirongrong Ramasoota, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts, is one of the five board members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Senate on Monday voted in favour of five of seven prospective candidates becoming board members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), ensuring the new board will be able to function and putting an end to the decision-making vacuum at the regulator.

Of the seven names put forth by the selection committee to the Senate for a vote, five obtained at least 124 votes, half of the total votes in the Upper House.

The five comprise:

  • Air Marshal Thanapant Raicharoen, deputy secretary-general of the NBTC, in the broadcasting field;
  • Pirongrong Ramasoota, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts, in the TV field;
  • Dr Sarana Boonbaichaiyapruck, a medical specialist and a former member of the defunct National Legislative Assembly, in the field of consumer protection;
  • Torpong Selanon, president of the Thailand Association of the Blind, in the field of people's liberty and rights promotion;
  • Suphat Suphachalasai, director of Thammasat University's Institute of Area Studies, in the economic field.

The two who failed to win enough votes are

  • Kittisak Sriprasert, former chief executive of CAT Telecom, in the telecom field;
  • Lt Tanakrit Ekkayokkaya, deputy chief executive of the Office of the Thai Media Fund.

With five people approved, the new board can start operating in line with the amended NBTC Act, ending months of uneasiness at the regulator.

According to a source at the NBTC board who requested anonymity, the two failed candidates were perceived since last month as not being up to the task.

Mr Kittisak is an uncompromising man, while Lt Tanakrit lacked adequate experience as he was promoted to work at the Office of the Thai Media Fund for less than a month, the source said.

The five chosen board members have 15 days to step down from their existing positions, the source said. The six existing board members are not expected to make any policy decisions during this period, stepping down as soon as the new members have been royally endorsed.

The NBTC is in charge of digital resource allocation, especially spectrum bands, which serve as the digital backbone for the internet economy. The body ushers in regulations for the telecom and broadcasting industries.

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