Voice TV to challenge NBTC ban on talk show

Voice TV to challenge NBTC ban on talk show

Under the order of the official TV censor, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), VoiceTV cannot air 'Tonight Thailand', including reruns, for 15 days. (FB/TonightThailand)
Under the order of the official TV censor, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), VoiceTV cannot air 'Tonight Thailand', including reruns, for 15 days. (FB/TonightThailand)

Voice TV is preparing to file a complaint with the Administrative Court to challenge a 15-day suspension order on one of its news talk shows after it was accused of inciting divisions by the telecommunications regulator.

The suspension order was signed on Tuesday by Takorn Tanthasit, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), and became effective immediately.

Voice TV executive Mekin Petplai said the TV station will lodge a case with the Administrative Court so that legal and disciplinary actions can be taken against the NBTC "as soon as possible", according to Matichon Online.

The Tonight Thailand programme was also ordered off the air on all time slots on the channel, and past episodes cannot be re-run during the suspension period either.

The NBTC based its decision to suspend the show on the contents aired on March 1, alleging that the programme appeared to cause confusion and incite conflicts or divisions in the country.

The organisation imposed the ban on the programme, citing a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) announcement and violation of terms agreed by Voice TV allowing it to operate.

According to the order, the channel failed to check the programme's content before or during the airing of the show.

In the March 1 episode, speakers touched on events that occurred during the French Revolution, which the NBTC considered inappropriate and unsuitable in the context of Thai society.

The executives of Voice TV, run by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's only son Panthongtae, were reportedly invited by the NBTC to discuss two of its programmes -- Wake Up Thailand and Tonight Thailand.

The NBTC decided to issue a warning for Wake Up Thailand but suspended Tonight Thailand.

Following the 2014 coup, Voice TV was suspended for 26 days, starting May 20, 2014. It was the only digital TV channel to be temporarily shut down.

Later, some of the channel's other TV programmes were also ordered taken off the air after being slapped with suspensions ranging from three to 14 days.

The licence of the TV station was temporarily suspended for seven days on March 27 last year.

In a separate development Wednesday, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Thai Constitution Protection Association, petitioned the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to consider the qualifications of six out of 14 candidates shortlisted to become new NBTC commissioners.

The 14 were screened by a NBTC selection panel. The NLA is duty-bound to pick seven candidates to serve as NBTC members.

Four of the shortlisted candidates may have breached a law governing the NBTC as they are currently working for the regulator, Mr Srisuwan said.

He noted the law states that candidates must not be members of organisations involved in radio, television or broadcasting businesses for one year before being appointed.

Another two were interviewed by the NBTC's selection panel with one member missing the event, he said.

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