Public-purpose TV moves ahead with April dates [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 17--The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will open for applications for the first public-purpose digital TV channel from April 21-25.
The licence will be allocated through the beauty contest method. It will be numbered 10 and have a purpose to promote good understanding between the government or parliament and people.
NBTC secretary-general Thakorn Tanthasit said the channel operator must be a government agency, a non-profit organisation or an educational institution.
The criteria for potential operators are strong financial resources, suitable TV programming and effective channel management.
The applicants must submit their TV programming schedules, viewer target groups and a guideline to promote public participation.
TV content must be in line with viewer needs.
The licence will be for 15 years, divided into two phases. The first phase is four years and then the regulator will renew the licence for another 11 years if the channel operator does not violate broadcasting rules and has no legal punishment.
Parliament currently operates its own channel via the satellite TV system and intends to apply for a public-purpose licence as well.
Among the 12 public-purpose digital channels, the NBTC has reserved three channels for existing free TV, including the Royal Thai Army's Channel 5, Channel 11 by the Public Relations Department and public TV Thai PBS.
The fourth public-purpose channel will be for children's programmes and allocated to Thai PBS in exchange for a faster return of its analogue frequency.
The remaining eight public-purpose digital channels fall into three types.
Type one has an educational-promoting purpose for channels numbered 5-7.
Type two is for national security and public safety for channels numbered 8-9.
Type three is for promoting understanding between the government and Thai people for channels numbered 10-12.
Channels in type one and type three can generate revenue from advertising by only government agencies, while type two cannot generate profits.
The public channels must contain informative content that makes up at least 70% of the total.
The NBTC was previously criticised by academics and non-government organisations for having no clear criteria to allocate licences for public-purpose digital TV.
Late last year, the regulator successfully auctioned 24 licences for digital TV channels with commercial purpose.
Among the 24 channels, three are for children's programmes and seven each are for news, variety with standard definition and variety with high definition.
All 24 digital channel winners are in the process of getting licences.
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