Thailand’s first public television station, known as the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS), is taking shape after the Thai Public Broadcasting Service Act took effect on January 14. The Cabinet, during its meeting on January 15, approved the formation of a temporary policy committee to supervise the operations of the Thai PBS.
The move came after the Government Public Relations Department, which operates Television of Thailand Channel 11, took over the transmission of Thailand Independent Television (TITV) to turn it into a public television broadcaster.
The temporary policy committee on the Thai PBS comprises five members, namely Mr. Thepchai Yong, former editor of the Nation’s Multimedia Group, Mr. Apichart Thongyoo, an academic, Mr. Narong Jaiharn, a law lecturer from Thammasat University, Mr. Kwansuang Athipo, a lecturer from Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Architecture, and Mrs. Nualnoi Trirat, a lecturer on economics from Chulalongkorn University. In the first meeting of the committee on January 15, Mr. Kwansuang was elected as Chairman and Mr. Thepchai as Acting Director of Thai PBS.
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Khunying Dhipavadee Meksawan said that the five-member policy committee has 180 days, or six months, to work out rules and regulations for the management of this public television station. Then a permanent Thai PBS policy committee will be formed and a new director will be appointed. In the initial stage, the budget to operate Thai PBS will come from excise tax.
Thai PBS will be free from commercial interests and political interference. It aims to promote the creation of a society of integrity. The committee will plan the program content to achieve this aim.
Applications are now open for staff of this public television station, which is set to begin broadcasting on 1 February 2008. Until then, the program includes royal activities of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra and other documentaries. The staff of TITV can also apply for working at this new station.
TITV was launched last year to replace iTV, which was ordered to suspend broadcasting for failing to pay more than two billion baht in overdue concession fees to the Prime Minister’s Office. The Government Public Relations Department was assigned to run TITV, so that it would be able to continue broadcasting without interruption.
The National Legislative Assembly on 31 October 2007 approved legislation to transform TITV into a public television broadcaster. The law came into force on 14 January 2008, prompting the Government Public Relations Department to act in accordance with the law, paving the way to the creation of the first public television station in Thailand.