Media Situation in January 2010

Media Situation in January 2010
By Media Threat Alert Center, Thai Journalists Association

No serious threat against the media occurred during this period. But in an isolated incident, a student newspaper faced an apparent threat of closure. A general development in the media sector includes the government’s media policy change and legal actions against the media that failed to comply with the regulation as well as progress in the enactment of media laws

Change in the Business Management Model of Channel 11
The Abhisit government agreed to switch the business management model of Channel 11 to the old system of airtime rental. The current model of a joint production between the station and production houses generated less revenue than using the airtime renting system. The Channel 11, which is currently under supervision of Public Relation Department has introduced a joint production business model in 2008 under the government of former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Progress in the Broadcast and Telecom Regulation ACT
The Special Vetting Committee of the House of Representatives already reviewed all 88 articles of the draft legislation on the Frequency Allocation and Broadcasting, Radio and Television and Telecom Regulation Organisation. The bill which envisages the setting up of National Broadcasting and Telecom Commission is expected to go to the House of Representatives for second and third readings during this current session which will end in April. The law shall be forwarded to the Senate for approval and is likely to take effect in mid 2010.

Student Newspaper Faces Threat of Closure
Laan Maprao, a newspaper run by students at the Communication Arts Department, Faculty of Human and Social Science, Burapa University was ordered to withdraw distributing copies and threatened by members of the university’s Board of Directors to seek the university’s resolution to close it down.

Representatives of the newspaper’s editorial committee have submitted an open letter to TJA, Human Rights Commission for Liberty and Consumer Protection, the Senate, Ministry of Education as well as National Human Rights Commission, asking them for justice.

The Rector of Burapa University argued that the Board of Directors has agreed that Laan Maprao was a student paper, not a registered type under the Printing Act of 1941 that its report must not infringe upon the third person’s right. Responsible party, which is the Communication Arts Department, shall have the right to open, close and improve the newspaper, or take action, deemed proper, against it.

Laan Maprao is an active participant in a number of student newspaper competition events, organised by TJA and its professional allies.  

Legal Action against a Newspaper Violating the Printing Registration and Notification Act
Office of National Library under the aegis of Fine Arts Department lodged a complaint with police against a publisher of Red News for publishing and selling its publication without filing registration request, required under Article 11 of the 2007 Printing Registration and Notification Act. The newspaper also failed to send two copies of its editions for depository at the Library within 30 days after the distribution date, also required under Article 9 of the same act.

Pro-Thaksin Newspaper Shut Down
Prachatat Rai Wan, a daily news publication, established after Thai Military coup d’etat to topple former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006 ceased its production and sale, and laid off a large number of its staff. It altogether printed 581 editions including the latest one on 15 January 2010.