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Thai public digital TV seeks civil society input
Publication Date : 10-03-2013
Consumer-rights groups, non-governmental organisations and scholars have called for civil-society participation in Thailan'd public television and an effective monitoring system to regulate public and community digital TV channels.
These concerns were raised in a focus group held by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The event aimed to explain to the Thai public, consumer groups and others the process of converting the TV broadcasting system from analog to digital.
Call for space
Boonyuen Siritham, chairman of the Confederation of Consumer Organisations, suggested that though state agencies had the right to hold and operate public TV channels, the NBTC should set conditions that these TV operators must offer space for civic groups.
A representative of the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand expressed its concern that if state agencies run public TV channels, they could spend their budgets inefficiently, using this medium to promote their own image. There could also be corruption.
Withayoot Bonnag, an instructor from the education faculty of Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, called for assertive technology for disabled and elderly people as a minimum required standard of digital TV converters.
The basic features of this technology would include audio descriptions, spoken subtitling, closed captions and sign language.
Withayoot also suggested that the NBTC should encourage public TV operators to produce special programmes or even channels for such people.
A representative from a civil-society group said the broadcasting regulator should ensure that an effective monitoring system was put in place after the granting of public licences to TV broadcasters.
With this system in place, the NBTC should set up a special task force to examine content airing on both public and community channels and to set penalties for any violations of its regulations.
Piyakul Laowansiri, dean of communication arts at Huachiew Chalermprakiet University, said the NBTC should encourage people to become active in this monitoring process.