Broad­cast­ers push for new laws to help them sur­vive in dig­i­tal era


FIVE TV broad­cast­ing as­so­ci­a­tions will jointly sub­mit their pro­pos­als to the gov­ern­ment’s me­dia re­form and in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy com­mit­tee to­day to re­vise the broad­cast­ing law to bring them into line with fast-chang­ing tech­nol­ogy.

The five as­so­ci­a­tions are the As­so­ci­a­tion of Dig­i­tal Tele­vi­sion Broad­cast­ing (Thai­land), the Satel­lite Tele­vi­sion As­so­ci­a­tion (Thai­land), Thai­land Ca­ble TV As­so­ci­a­tion, the Ca­ble TV Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion, and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ca­ble and Satel­lite TV Net­work Providers.

Yes­ter­day they jointly sub­mit­ted their pro­pos­als to a com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly that is study­ing the fre­quency al­lo­ca­tion and broad­cast­ing laws. They have called on the com­mit­tee to re­view the fre­quency al­lo­ca­tion law and the Broad­cast­ing Act of 2008.

They ar­gued that the laws have failed to keep pace with the cur­rent land­scape brought by fast-chang­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies and re­strains fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the broad­cast­ing in­dus­try.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Dig­i­tal Tele­vi­sion Broad­cast­ing’s pro­posal noted that fast-chang­ing broad­cast­ing and tele­com tech­nol­ogy has prompted tech­no­log­i­cal dis­rup­tion, which has im­pacted all kind of me­dia busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the dig­i­tal TV busi­ness. These changes make the ex­ist­ing broad­cast­ing law of 2008 out­dated. The as­so­ci­a­tion there­fore asked that the com­mit­tee re­vise the broad­cast­ing law to bring it into line with the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment, which would then en­able dig­i­tal TV op­er­a­tors to con­tinue to do busi­ness.

Ad­mi­ral Taweewuth Pongsapi­patt, vice chair­man of the NLA com­mit­tee ex­am­in­ing the fre­quency al­lo­ca­tion law, said that the gov­ern­ment had al­ready asked the Coun­cil of State to draft an ag­gre­gated law com­bin­ing the four main laws: the 2010 fre­quency al­lo­ca­tion law, the broad­cast­ing law, the ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tions law of 1950, and the tele­com busi­ness law of 2001.

He said this would en­able the broad­cast­ing and tele­com sec­tors to keep pace with the con­ver­gence era. He added that the process of ra­tio­nal­is­ing the laws would take time.

Ear­lier, the dig­i­tal TV as­so­ci­a­tion pro­posed that the gov­ern­ment’s me­dia re­form and ICT com­mit­tee in­cor­po­rate its pro­posal for re­struc­tur­ing the ter­res­trial dig­i­tal TV broad­cast­ing in­dus­try into the com­mit­tee’s me­dia re­form plan.

Ac­cord­ing to its pro­posal, the re­lated par­ties should re­claim part of the cur­rent dig­i­tal TV broad­cast­ing spec­trum band in the range of 600MHz to 700MHz for re­al­lo­ca­tion to pro­vide tele­com ser­vices. The move would gen­er­ate greater rev­enues for the state bud­get. More­over, the re­lated agen­cies should seek ways to ease the reg­u­la­tory bur­den on dig­i­tal TV op­er­a­tors.

The in­de­pen­dent broad­cast­ing and tele­com reg­u­la­tory body, the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NBTC) auc­tioned 24 li­cences to op­er­ate 24 dig­i­tal TV chan­nels in 2013.

Later, li­cence hold­ers were im­pacted by other broad­cast­ing plat­forms, in par­tic­u­lar so­cial me­dia net­works such as YouTube and Face­book, which al­low users to broad­cast con­tent in way sim­i­lar to TV op­er­a­tors but with­out the bur­den of li­cens­ing fees. Me­dia agen­cies have al­lo­cated more ad­ver­tis­ing money to these so­cial me­dia chan­nels at the ex­pense of main­stream me­dia.

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