Voice TV wins court case over NBTC's blackout bid

Voice TV wins court case over NBTC's blackout bid

Voice TV can continue to air programmes after the Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ordered the National Broadcasting and Telecommuncations Commission to withdraw a blackout order on the station. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Voice TV can continue to air programmes after the Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ordered the National Broadcasting and Telecommuncations Commission to withdraw a blackout order on the station. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Central Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled against an attempt by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to black out Voice TV for 15 days.

The court ordered the broadcasting and telecom regulator to scrap its 15-day blackout order, saying it found no evidence that the broadcaster's two programmes, Wake Up News and Tonight Thailand, had featured "seditious and confusing" content.

The NBTC had failed to provide proof that the two shows had broadcast such damaging content. the court said.

The NBTC on Feb 13 ordered Voice TV Co to cease its TV broadcasts from midnight the same day, using its power under the Broadcasting Act. 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 said.

Two days later, the court issued an injunction against the order.

Voice TV chief executive officer Mekin Petplai welcomed the court's ruling, saying it protected freedom of the press. 

The station took the case to the court to set a standard that the state regulator should stay neutral in politics and respect freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

The NBTC can appeal the ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Mr Mekin said Voice TV stood ready for a fight if the state agency takes the case to a higher court.


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