The temper tantrum by Thailand’s NBTC to force Facebook and YouTube to register themselves as OTT broadcasters has reached new levels with the regulator threatening to report Google and Facebook to the US Embassy and calling the Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) a worthless lobbyist group.
On Friday, the AIC – whose members include Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, Line and Rakuten – stepped into the debate over OTT broadcast registration with an open letter to NBTC Chairman Thares Punsri expressing concern that the new policies are at odds with Thailand’s international GATS and WTO commitments and will discourage investment.
In the letter, which has been widely published in local media, AIC managing director Jeff Paine noted that the OTT registration order and subsequent threats to comply were forcing companies to register with as yet unknown regulations that are not yet in the public domain.
“The AIC respectfully encourages the NBTC to promptly share the draft regulation and provide a transparent public consultation process,” Paine wrote.
Paine added that the move would not only discourage growth in Thailand which is at odds with the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy but would disadvantage Thai content creators.
Thares Punsri has not yet responded to the letter, but NBTC telecoms chair Colonel Natee Sukonrat has.
Colonel Natee’s response to the letter was that he will not even bother responding as the letter is “a worthless piece of paper from just a failed lobbyist nobody listens to.”
Colonel Natee did take time to issue more threats to Google and Facebook. Last week he threatened every company and advertising agency with criminal prosecution if they place ads with Facebook and YouTube if they still weren’t registered by the July 22 deadline. He quickly followed that statement up with another saying he would report Facebook and YouTube to the US Embassy for operating illegally in Thailand.
In an ironic twist, the NBTC went as far as to buy Facebook ads to tell Thai people not to buy Facebook ads.