Thai Public Broadcasting Service
|Thai Public Broadcasting Service|
|Launched||1 July 1996 (as ITV)
8 March 2007 (as TITV)
15 January 2008 (as TPBS)
|Closed||7 March 2007 (as ITV)
14 January 2008 (as TITV)
|Picture format||576i (SDTV);
|Slogan||ไทยพีบีเอส ทีวีที่คุณวางใจ (Thai PBS, TV that you trust.)|
|Headquarters||Lak Si, Bangkok, Thailand|
|Formerly called||ITV (1.7.1996 to 7.3.2007)
TITV (8.3.2007 to 14.1.2008)
TPBS (until 31.1.2008)
TV Thai (until 2011)
|Sister channel(s)||Thai radio stations|
|Analogue||Channel 29 : UHF (Bangkok) or Normally tuned to channel 6|
|Thaicom 5||3985V 4.815 3/4
4012V 6.400 3/4 (HD)
The Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai: องค์การกระจายเสียงและแพร่ภาพสาธารณะแห่งประเทศไทย; RTGS: Ong Kan Krachai Siang Lae Phrae Phap Satharana Haeng Prathet Thai), or TPBS (Thai: ส.ส.ท.), is a public broadcasting service in Thailand. It is established by the Thai Public Broadcasting Service Act, BE 2551 (2008), which came into force as from January 15, 2008. Under this Act, the TPBS holds the status of state agency with legal personality, but not being a government agency or state enterprise.
The TPBS operates Thai PBS (ไทยพีบีเอส), which was formerly known as iTV, TITV and TV Thai Television Station, respectively. Thai PBS is a public television station broadcasting in UHF Channel 29. The station is broadcasting on a frequency formerly held by the privately run channel, iTV. Thai PBS tested its broadcasting on a temporary frequency appropriated by TVT (TV 11 Thailand) at Television of Thailand (New Phetchaburi Road Broadcasting Station) from January 15 to 31, 2008, and it started airing its programs on February 1 of the same year.
The iTV years
Discussion of a public television station in Thailand began in the aftermath of the "Bloody May" crackdown on anti-government protests in 1992, in which the need was expressed for a TV station that would broadcast news and information free from state intervention. The resulting public debate give rise to iTV, a privately owned channel run which started broadcasting in 1995 under a 30-year state concession. According to the covenant, iTV had to include news and information no less than 70% of its total airtime. However, this pressing condition made it difficult for iTV to sustain as a for-profit business entity because, with the program structure dominated with news and information, the station hardly met its revenue target. Soon after the 1997 economic crisis in which Thailand was harshly hit, iTV underwent massive debt restructuring. Nation Multimedia Group, a major news and publishing company and shareholder, pulled out and was replaced by Shin Corporation, a telecommunications conglomerate owned by the family of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was elected prime minister in 2000.
Under Shin Corporation, iTV was granted permission by an arbitration panel to increase the amount of entertainment programming and pay a significantly reduced amount of annual licensing fee in 2004. The case was contested in Thailand's Central Administrative Court, but iTV restructured its programming anyway to include more entertainment programs and less news. This move was criticized as an act against its original spirit of public news station. iTV was also harshly criticized for its biased coverage in favor of Thaksin government, particularly when the government encountered fierce public scrutiny surrounding the sales of Shin Corporation to Temasek Holdings and its aftermath which eventually led to the 2006 Thai coup d'état.
iTV becomes TITV
In June 2006, the Administrative Court ruled that iTV's move to change its programming structure ran against conditions stated in the covenant and ruled that iTV pay fines and reduced concession fee illegitimately granted by the arbitration panel amounting to 94 billion Baht. The ruling practically put iTV into bankruptcy. The concession was later repealed and iTV and its airwave were returned to state possession during the Surayud administration, which renamed the station TITV, but continued programming provided by the former iTV.
Creation of Thai PBS
The Surayud administration formed a task force headed by Somkiat Tangkijvanich to conduct a possibility study to transform iTV into a fully public-financed television station. This effort resulted in the proposal of Public Broadcasting Service Act, in which legal measures were put in place to protect the new TV station against both political and commercial influence. According to the PBS Act, the new public TV station, called TPBS (Thai Public Broadcasting Service), receives financial support derived from sin taxes to ensure its financial independence and to protect itself against any possible business links. The organization is designed such that autonomy and immunity to any intervention from politicians or state power are ensured. The required establishment of aViewers Committee would also help guarantee accountability and the quality of programs that reflects demands from viewers.
The creation of Thai PBS was controversial, because it displaced the privately run iTV. The announcement that iTV was to be shut down and replaced by the commercial-free TPBS in accordance with the Public Broadcasting Service Act was made with no prior announcement. Approximately 800 employees of the former TITV were uncertain of their jobs.
All of TITV's old programming was pulled from the air and, during a two-week interim period, programming was provided by the Public Relations Department's Television of Thailand, and mainly consisted of tributes to Princess Galyani Vadhana, who had died on January 2, 2008.
- At night of 14/1, at 23:40, the program is cut-offed and replace by the live program, for a few minutes, until 23:58, it is replaced by clock in black-and-white for 2 minutes, later the EBC colorbars with TITV logo and beep.
- Later at 4:30, logo is removed. Also the beep is removed. Later played the speech in English about global warming with Thai subtitles played on signal. Then it's fixed at 5:05 and replaced by beep again.
- At 5:56, the temporary version of TPBS is aired to 23:30 until 18/1, and the official version of TPBS starts airing.
New programming by TPBS commenced on February 1, 2008, consisting of documentaries and children's programs, commissioned by the Public Relations Department. Broadcast hours were originally from 4:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, later 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and later 5:00 a.m. to midnight. with five to six hours of news programs.
Most of the production staff for TPBS has come from the ranks of former iTV/TITV crew. The status of around 300 for iTV/TITV journalists has been uncertain. Managing Director of Thai PBS is Thepchai Yong, a former editor of The Nation newspaper and News Director of iTV who in 2009 was awarded a Media Leadership Award by the US-based international media development NGO Internews.
- "Time to give iTV back to people". The Nation. Jun. 21, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "Military-controlled TV Station Blocks Thaksin Interview". Irrawaddy Online. Dec. 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "Govt to seek iTV fine of Bt94 bn". The Nation. Nov. 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Public Broadcasting Service Act (Thai)
- Thailand replaces programmes on private TV channel, Agence France-Presse, January 14, 2008; retrieved via Google News 2008-01-25
- Public TV channel launched, Bangkok Post, January 15, 2008; retrieved from cache 2008-01-25
- Rocky start for TITV, The Nation (Thailand), January 15, 2008; retrieved 2008-01-25
- TPBS news to air on Feb 15, The Nation (Thailand), January 25, 2008; retrieved 2008-01-25
- Internews Media Leadership Awards 2009, Internews, retrieved 2009-09-21