Voice TV back on air after court grants injunction

Voice TV back on air after court grants injunction

Voice TV is back on air after the Central Administrative Court issued an injunction against the broadcasting regulator’s 15-day blackout order pending a trial.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on Wednesday ordered the company to stop its TV broadcass from midnight the same day, using its power under the Broadcasting Act. 

The regulator said two of the news programmes on the station owned by Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, had seditious and confusing content.

It claimed complaints had been filed regularly against Voice TV and the station was found to have violated the law four times in 2015, 11 times in 2016, 10 times in 2017 and nine times in 2018.

Despite numerous warnings, the programmes continued to break the law, leading to the suspension, the NBTC explained.

The NBTC, however, did not reveal what content it found illegal, citing the need to protect the operator. 

As a digital media company, Voice TV continued to present all of its programmes normally via Facebook Live since the order covered only its digital TV operation.

Two days after the blackout, the company asked the Central Administrative Court to consider an injunction. Both sides presented their cases to the court the next day.

The court said late Friday that the constitution explicitly protects the rights and freedoms of members of the media and the NBTC can exercise its power to stop broadcasts only when two factors are met -- when they broke Section 37 of the Broadcasting law and such action causes serious damage.

Section 37 allows the NBTC to suspend TV licences when the content leads to the toppling of the rule of constitutional monarchy, undermines national security, disrupt peace and order and affect good morality.

The court agreed with the petitioner and issued the injunction, allowing Voice TV to be back on air late on Friday.

It has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, followed by a trial and ruling on Feb 25. 

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