Monday, July 07, 2008

Unruly TV stations and mad doctors

PTV is a TV station set up by affiliates of Thai Rak Thai and PPP (People Power Party) initially to voice opposition to the junta, and now to counter the reasonably successful campaign by the PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy). The PAD are led by Sonthi Limthongkul who is the owner of ASTV. As such, ASTV supply almost 24 hour coverage to PAD activities. The PPP obviously see the resurrection of PTV (it was closed down for unclear reasons during the junta's rule) as the ideal counter strike.

There's just one problem. It is a blatant and shameless constitutional breech. One of the (few) plus points of the new constitution is that it clearly states people in positions of political power cannot hold a financial interest in any media outlet. It's a progressive, positive rule.

So how can Chaturon (former TRT leader) and Jakrapob get away with this?

The Nation:

Amid growing pressure from PTV's opponents to ban the station's broadcasts, Phachern Khampho said such authority actually lies with the National Broadcasting Commission, which will be established in the near future.

Great, so it's goverened by a group that does not yet exist and, if the National Telecom Commission is comparable, will not exist for some time yet.

Still, hopefully someone will lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Court.


Another interesting side show is Democrat MP Malinee Sukwenworakij's bizarre rant in Parliament claiming that Samak suffered mental deficiency. MP Malinee claimed that Samak's behaviour such as glaring at reporters displayed evidence of mental sickness. Malinee went so far as to hold up a book entitled "Sick people that ruled the world" (Samak hardly rules the world does he?) which apparently includes Hitler as one of its case studies.

Samak rightly responded that her medical licence should be reviewed as no doctor should be diagnosing people in Parliament.

Malinee responded by claiming she was speaking from personal opinion. If that was so, why did she need to cite her qualification as a doctor to back up her arguments? I doubt many medics want to be dragged into the circus of Thai politics and I personally would not want a GP who is so childish as to do such things. I have no love for Samak and I wonder myself if he is not a cymbal short of a drumkit, but Dr Malinee is just as bad.

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