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NRSA set to take up media regulatory bill


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NRSA set to take up media regulatory bill
By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
Asina Pornwasin
The Nation

 

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BANGKOK: -- The contentious media regulatory bill, which now covers online media, will be taken up by the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) at its meeting next Monday despite strong opposition.

 

Online media, including bloggers, are divided over the licensing system proposed by the bill; some believe it could elevate online content standards, while others doubt its efficiency in this interconnected, fast-paced era.

 

In the latest revision, alternative news outlets broadcast via online channel would be covered by the draft law. They were expected to be subjected to the same treatment, such as a licensing system similar to traditional and mainstream media.

 

ACM Kanit Suwannet, chairman of the NRSA’s media reform committee, told The Nation the meeting viewed online media as no different from traditional media such as newspapers or television. The only difference is their broadcasting channel, he said. Hence they should be included in the new regulatory system as well, he explained.

 

The draft bill has defined such new media as “instant creators” who earned income from providing online content, he said.

 

“Anyone who feeds content to the public online and makes a profit – for instance, from advertisements – would be under this law, too,” Kanit said. “These include [Facebook] pages with a lot of followers, with advertisements running on them.”

 

The law had to keep pace with advancements in technology, he said. Other ministries and agencies were currently keeping an eye on the online world as well so to find a way to regulate and maybe collect tax, he added.

 

The alternative news outlets in the online world have gained significant momentum in recent years. They are considered by many people as competitors or even killers of the traditional mass media, as presently people are increasingly reliant on the Internet to receive news than listening to the radio, watching television, or reading papers.

 

Among such outlets are portal websites and online new agencies such as Kapook.com, Sanook,com, thematter.co, and the momentum.co. They are expected to be impacted by the controversial media regulatory bill as well.

 

Teepagorn Wuttipitayamongkol, a co-founder of an alternative online news agency The Matter, wrote on his Facebook page that the bill was an obvious attempt to control the media.

 

“Imagine having to ask for permission every time [we] make a joke or reporting news that do not oppose the powers that be. Imagine a world where a handful of people try to impose their morality on diverse people,” the veteran columnist wrote. “We can see how tragic this media registration is.”

 

He reflected in the post that the definition of online media as those earning an income by providing online content was “insane” and could make an endless list. There were several ways people could earn money out of posting online content without being professional media, Teepagorn argued.

 

He did not think regulation could control the media effectively. Rather, it undermined the competitiveness of the media when it was already low because of limited press freedom.

 

The Momentum, a similar online content creator, could not be reached for comment.

 

Meanwhile, other online media practitioners have shared their views on the issue.

 

Poramate Minsiri, managing director and CEO at Kapook.com, said he was concerned that the government’s role in licensing could curb media freedom. He believed that self-regulation and society could be more efficient in the modern world.

 

“When authority sets up such a process, we may fewer online reporters, given that they will be required to register beforehand,” Poramate said “Media might be more limited in reporting on issues, especially on rights infringements.”

 

Apisilp Trunganont, president of Thai Webmaster Association and co-founder of Pantip.com, saw ambiguity in the NRSA’s explanation. “What kind of media will need to be licensed, who exactly will issue the licences, and how will they be used on a worker or legal person?” he asked. “We need to know the answers to these before taking the next steps.”

 

Nuttaputch Wongreanthong, digital marketing blogger at nuttaputch.com, said he saw potential in the regulation attempt to help increase the responsibility of online media and blogging. 

 

But by doing so, he suggested, online practitioners should be encouraged to take part in the bill drafting process so as to provide timely and true-to-context insights.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30313585

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-04-28
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2 hours ago, webfact said:

“When authority sets up such a process, we may fewer online reporters, given that they will be required to register beforehand,” Poramate said “Media might be more limited in reporting on issues, especially on rights infringements.”

Yes, this is what happens when you invite coups to solve your perceived problems.   Media in Thailand never had much freedom to begin with.  Now it has less.  Countries that have rule of law and a single tier justice system use liable laws to police bad journalism.  Thailand has neither. 

Edited by yellowboat
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