Press clubs stand up against Peace TV blackout

Press clubs stand up against Peace TV blackout

Peace TV goes quiet again after its licence was suspended for one month from last Wednesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Peace TV goes quiet again after its licence was suspended for one month from last Wednesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Two main press associations have called into question the integrity of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) after it pulled the plug on Peace TV for one month.

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and Thai Broadcasting Journalists Associations (TBJA) on Friday also opposed the NBTC's decision to shut down the satellite station.

The NBTC revoked the licence of Peace TV, known for its close links with the red shirts, for one month from Wednesday, effectively meaning the station had to go off the air during the period.

The decision was based on the content of some programmes on air between March 26 and April 9 deemed inciting conflicts by the telecom regulator.

In imposing the ban, The NBTC cited two orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order as the ground to unplug the broadcaster.

The two press associations said the reference to the junta's two orders to take action against Peace TV had jeopardised the NBTC's credibility and showed that it had allowed outside influence to compromise its independence.

They also said the temporary closure was in violation of press freedom protected under the constitution.

Instead of closing the station, the NBTC should selectively ban the programmes in question, the TJA and TBJA said and urged the agency to immediately reconsider the order.

Although the station is off the air, all Peace TV programmes continue to run on its Facebook page and those of its hosts.

Key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship including co-leader Nattawut Sakkuar are hosts of the shows on the station.

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