Thai gov’t suspends TV station for a week over its reports
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s broadcast regulator on Monday ordered a television channel to suspend its over-the-air broadcasting for a week for what it called biased reports affecting national security.
The reasoning for the order issued by the National Broadcasting and Television Commission was challenged by Voice TV, which said in a statement that although it presents views contrary to the official line of the country’s military government, its programming does not affect stability. The suspension begins at midnight Monday night.
The television station is controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 army coup and is in exile to avoid a prison term for corruption. The station, whose news and commentary often challenge the government’s point of view, said it will continue presenting its programming online during the suspension period.
The stories cited as offensive by the commission included commentaries on the fatal shooting of a hill tribe youth activist at a military checkpoint, the seizure of war weapons at a building belonging to an anti-government exile and the police siege of a temple belonging to a Buddhist sect.
Voice TV said it will consider legal proceedings, both civil and administrative, because the order affects its business.
Laws implemented after the military took power in another coup in 2014 give it power to shut down any media outlet without any sort of judicial review. The broadcasting commission is an agency with such authority. Most media outlets apply self-censorship.
Voice TV has been one of the most frequent targets of the authorities. Several times it has suspended individual programs under pressure from the government.