Army TV channel director replaced over Russia-Ukraine war coverage

Army TV channel director replaced over Russia-Ukraine war coverage

Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap, president of the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station,  aka TV Channel 5 (Photo from the station)
Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap, president of the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station, aka TV Channel 5 (Photo from the station)

The head of army-owned TV Channel 5 is being replaced amid reports of controversial meetings and orders regarding news coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A source said on Tuesday that army commander-in-chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae had ordered the replacement of Channel 5 president Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap with Lt Gen Wisanti Sasrida, director of the Army Training Command, effective on April 7.

All three generals were members of Class 22 at the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School, and Gen Narongphan and Gen Rangsee have been close friends for over 40 years since then.

Lt Gen Wisanti was expected to run the military TV channel for six months, until his retirement in October.

Gen Rangsee said on Tuesday that he had not been sacked, because he sent his resignation letter to the army chief on Monday. He said he had personal reasons for tendering his resignation, effective April 7.

Asked if it stemmed from an order that the channel not report news about the Russia-Ukraine war, Gen Rangsee said that depended on the judgement of the media.

Gen Rangsee had earlier assigned the pro-government Top News TV team to supply news content to Channel 5.

Recently he met the Russian ambassador to Thailand and signed an agreement about the channel's news coverage of the war. He said he intended to ensure more balanced news, in comparison with reports by Western media.

Under the agreement, Channel 5 staff would verify reports with the Russian embassy and also present news from Russia.

This led to criticism of the neutrality of the channel. Gen Rangsee later promised the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand that news coverage would be neutral. 

However, sources said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was concerned about the issue and ordered Channel 5 to refrain from covering news about the war.

On Monday, the team supplying news to Channel 5 was presenting a report about the war and its signal was abruptly disconnected. That led to speculation that the Top News team would withdraw from the channel at the end of this month.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (52)

BCPG preps Asia's largest wind farm in Laos

BCPG Plc, the renewable power generation arm of Bangchak Corporation Plc, is planning to build Asia’s largest wind farm in Laos in cooperation with PowerChina International Group.

19:21

Man arrested for taking upskirting photos of actresses, and selling them online

Police arrested a 31-year-old man in Chon Buri province for alleged upskirting women, including some 40 actresses, and selling their photos and videos online.

18:49

Election promises

Pheu Thai has pledged to lift minimum wages and crop prices as it kicked off a campaign to end military-backed rule in elections slated for 2023.

18:22