Satellite TVs demand service resumption

Representatives of about 200 satellite TV operators gathered in front of army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Wednesday, calling on the military junta to allow them back on air.

The 20 operators of satellite TV channels led by Somboon Tongburarn submitted a letter to Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), asking him to allow them to resume their broadcast service “immediately”. 

The letter was received by army secretary Maj Gen Polpat Wannaphak.

The complainants said they were suffering from the NCPO’s announcement No 27 which stated that only satellite TV stations operated on the pay-TV platform were allowed to broadcast. 

Mr Somboon said the operators were not able to resume their services although they had applied for pay-TV operator licences with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) immediately after the announcement. 

They had been briefed on practices concerning information dissemination to the general public under the NCPO’s order and submitted footage of programmes previously broadcast on their channels as required by the agency.  

The NBTC would announce approvals for pay-TV licences next week, between June 23 and 25. But Mr Somboon said the operators wanted the NCPO to order the regulator to allow them back on air immediately because they had to shoulder large expenses such as transponder rental fees, employees’ wages and utility costs while waiting for NBTC approval. 

Mr Somboon insisted that owners of satellite channels would not disseminate content that provokes unrest and hinders the military regime’s efforts to restore peace and order.     

The group also proposed the junta disband the NBTC on the grounds that the agency failed to help them and to tackle several other broadcast and telecommunication issues despite receiving high payments. 

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