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 These changes make the existing broadcasting law of 2008 outdated.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.