Peace TV licence revoked
published : 27 Apr 2015 at 16:42
updated: 27 Apr 2015 at 18:53
writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Regulators have revoked the licence of Peace TV, a red-shirt station, for repeatedly broadcasting forbidden content.
Natee Sakonrat, who heads the broadcasting committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), tweeted on Monday the TV station continued to breach the terms of its agreement with authorities after the coup.
Col Natee wrote that following "a political change" on May 22, 2014, a number of satellite TV stations, including Peace TV, were banned. The junta claimed they had played a role in escalating political conflicts that culminated in the putsch.
They were gradually allowed to broadcast again several months later on condition they agreed to the NBTC's terms.
One of the requirements is that the content must not create confusion, instigate unrest or deepen conflicts and divisions among people.
After Peace TV was allowed to air, its content continued to breach the agreement, Col Natee said.
Despite its slogan of "TV station for peace", complaints continued to be filed against Peace TV, he added.
From October 2014, the NBTC issued several warnings but Peace TV continued to air forbidden content, Col Natee claimed.
The committee on March 30 suspended its licence for seven days from April 10-17. When it was on air again on April 18, the content continued to violate the agreement, he wrote.
"The committee therefore resolved today to revoke its licence."
A source at Peace TV said on Monday the station was certain it had done nothing wrong.
"The NBTC might be concerned we would instigate unrest as in our morning slot on Wednesday former PM Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Padet Puripatipan, a columnist, are invited to chat with Jatuporn Prompan [a United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship leader]," the source said.
Nattawut Saikuar, a UDD leader and Peace TV anchor, said the station had yet to receive a notice from the NBTC but it had no doubt the report was true.
"Our legal team will challenge the decision and protect our right. We may appeal the committee's decision and seek an Administrative Court injunction.
"I personally think the resolution came from a force higher than the committee. The fact that we were immediately banned following a 7-day suspension indicates an effort to justify the licence revocation.
"It's like handing a yellow card so it looks better when a red card comes.
"I don't understand the powers-that-be today. The situation now calls for diverse opinions for the benefit of constitution writing or reconciliation. Yet they continue to block channels for opposing views. How could we proceed toward democracy then?" he said.