The Central Administrative Court of Thailand has granted Voice TV’s petition to junk the 15-day suspension order imposed on it by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on 12 February 2019.
In its decision issued Wednesday, 27 February 2019, the court called the “NBTC order “unlawful,” effectively allowing the digital channel to continue broadcasting.
The court stated further that the “evidence provided by NBTC is not enough to substantiate its claim that the content in question could cause public confusion.”
Voice TV chief executive officer Makin Petplai welcomed today’s decision. In his statement released to the media, he said by filing its petition with the court, Voice TV wanted to set a standard that government agencies regulating the media “need to be impartial, concerned about press freedom and freedom of expression, and aware of their role in supporting the media industry (so it can) thrive.”
He added: “Voice TV insists that we always take (the) role of the media which stands by liberal democracy with responsibility, accountability and journalistic ethics.”
At the court hearing on 20 February 2019, Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) executive director Tess Bacalla read the regional organization’s statement of support for Voice TV and why it believes the suspension was a violation of press freedom.
“We urge this honorable court to rule on the basis of international human rights standards that the government of Thailand has committed itself to, along with numerous other countries in the world, which are united by the belief that freedom of expression and press freedom are invaluable rights and must be upheld at all times,” said Bacalla.