Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Proposed new Broadcasting Law in Thailand deeply Concerns the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), June 18, 2008.

Request for urgent action

On 10 June 2008, the Thai Cabinet approved, for submission to Parliament, a draft bill which is titled “Independent Organisation for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Bill”. The draft Bill is intended to replace the provisions of the Allocation of Telecommunications and Broadcasting Frequencies Act 2000. AMARC considers the draft Bill to be regressive in several key respects. In particular, AMARC is concerned that:

1. Previous legislation committed 20 per cent of the broadcast spectrum to not-for-profit civil society groups. The draft Bill makes no equivalent provision and has only a vague reference that the regulator - the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has the mission to support the coming together of local people to run broadcast media that are run for the benefit of the local community and not for profit.

2. The NBTC has powers to place limit on the revenue of community broadcasters with any surplus revenue to be remitted to the local administration where the community broadcaster is located.

3. The selection process for membership of the NBTC has been placed under the Minister for Information and Telecommunications (MIT), significantly reducing its independence and removing parliamentary oversight.

AMARC is also concerned by the lack of public consultation on the draft.

Action requested:

AMARC calls for international solidarity action to raise these concerns and to urge the Thai Government to re-instate previous commitments to an independent regulator, to retain 20 per cent ring-fencing of spectrum for community broadcasting (widely considered an international example of good practice) and not to introduce revenue limits on community broadcasters.

Letters of concern should be sent to:

1. Mr. Samak Sundaravej, Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Nakornpratom Road, Dusit District, Thailand 10300
Tel: 662-288-4000; Fax: 662-288-4025

2. Mr. Saneh Chammarik, Chairperson
The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
422 AMLO Building Phya Thai Rd., Pathum wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: (66) 2-2219-2980, Fax: (66) 2-2219-2940, Hotline: 1377

3. President of the Senate of Thailand
2 Uthong Nai Road
Dusit Sub-District, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300
Fax: 662-244-1019

4. President of the House of Representative of Thailand
2 Uthong Nai Road
Dusit Sub-District, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300
Fax: 662-244-1019

5. The Secretary-General, Office of the Council of State
1 Phra Arthit Rd., Phranakorn District
Bangkok 10200
Fax: 662-226-6201

6. Leader of The Oppositional Parties
Democrat Party
67 Setsiri Road.
Samsen, Phyathai District
Bangkok 10400
Fax: 662- 279-6086


Steve Buckley, President, AMARC International
Ashish Sen, Vice President for AMARC Asia Pacific

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Kathmandu.

For more information, please visit or contact Marcelo Solervicens, Secretary General, AMARC International, email: or Suman Basnet, Regional Coordinator, AMARC Asia Pacific, Kathmandu, Nepal; email:
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