BANGKOK — Thailand’s military junta has reportedly ordered a publicly funded TV station to drop a talk show that discussed dissatisfaction with the 22 May coup.
At least four colonels visited Thai PBS’s headquarters in Bangkok and instructed the station’s directors to stop broadcasting a talk show in which the host, Nattaya Wawweerakhup, asked villagers and activists for their opinions about the junta’s reform process, Isra News reported on Friday.
Nattaya had been interviewing activists in the southern province of Songkhla for her show, called “Voices of the People That Must Be Heard Before the Reform.”
Thai PBS executives reportedly agreed to adjust the program and strip the show down to “news format,” without the forum session. The host, Nattaya, was also removed from the show altogether, Thai PBS announced yesterday.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) today issued a statement saying a recent visit to the Thai PBS station by a group of senior military officers to request the station executives to remove a TV host from a talk show they deemed disturbing peace and order in the country is a breach of the media freedom, and rights to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.
The action by the HRLA, a non governmental organization, came after Thai PBS agreed to the group’s request and has removed the host, Nattaya Wawweerakhup, of the talk show called “Voices of the People That Must Be Heard Before the Reform.”
HRLA said in its statement that any direct and indirect over exertion of authority on the media to guide its news presentation to fulfil its wishes is a serious violation of media freedom and fundamental rights of the people in accessing to information.