By Watchiranont Thongtep
“We believe that we can win this long battle with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunic-ations Commission, which failed to marshal the transition from analog to digital TV in line with the national master plan. Our company was a victim of this failure,” said media veteran Pantipa “Sister Tim” Sakulchai, president of Thai TV Co.
Pantipa told the press after her legal team gave testimony yesterday at the hearing that her company would neither allow the NBTC to claim its bank guarantee nor pay fees and fines demanded by the commission.
However, NBTC member Supinya Klangnarong said Thai TV Co violated regulations by ending its public service without the permission of the commission, which was affecting the public interest.
In addition, if Thai TV wants to exit the current licence-based regime, it must comply with the law by paying the remaining five instalments of its upfront licence fees by March 13 after receiving an official notice of revocation of its licences from the NBTC, she said.
“I told the judges that granting a temporarily injunction could cause a domino effect on law enforcement both in the telecommunications and the broadcasting sector. Also, such a decision might have an impact on the collection of [state revenue] from previous auctions of radio frequencies as well as upcoming ones.”
The company had petitioned the court to issue a temporary injunction last week to protest against the NBTC’s administrative order of the revocation of two digital TV licences for Thai TV news station and Loca family channel, which was later renamed MVTV Family.
The notice also demanded full payment of the remaining five instalments of the upfront licence fees worth Bt1.63 billion plus value-added tax as well as the unpaid annual licence fees and a daily fine of Bt60,000 by March 13. But if Thai TV failed to respond, the bank guarantor, Bangkok Bank, should assume this responsibility.