NBTC Watch: Charlie Chaplin banned; OTT broadcasting licenses

ITEM: Thailand has celebrated the 85th anniversary of the revolution that changed Thailand from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy by blocking Charlie Chaplin’s movie, The Great Dictator, on YouTube.

Anyone attempting to access the film on YouTube from within Thailand is greeted with a message saying the video cannot be viewed because of a legal complaint from the government.

The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group posted the news about the block on its Facebook page. The movie was blocked after a group called the Thai Academic Network announced a viewing of the satirical movie as part of their celebrations of Democracy day.

ITEM: The NBTC has doubled-down on its attempts to control and censor OTT media. NBTC broadcasting chairman Colonel Natee Sukonrat has ordered 14 OTT broadcasters to register and apply for a broadcasting license within 30 days. The list includes Facebook, YouTube and Line TV, as well as local telco multiplay offerings such as AIS TV and TrueVisions Anywhere.

Colonel Nattee said that the OTT broadcasters must register by 22 July to make themselves legal. Initially, OTT broadcasters will be exempt from fees and rules regarding broadcasting schedules and must-carry channels.

He said that so far, only Netflix has contacted the NBTC to ask for a meeting sometime in early July.

Asked what would happen if overseas OTT providers did not register themselves with the NBTC, Colonel Nattee said that he had no plans to stop them broadcasting but that doing business in Thailand would be very difficult for them, unlike licensed OTT broadcasters. Foreign companies will have to have an office and a responsible person in Thailand.

Colonel Nattee defended the move. saying this was not unlike laws in the European Union, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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