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Thai television resumes usual schedule

Upon the passing of the late King Bhumibol, there was a 100 day nationwide period of mourning. During this time, certain activities were regulated, such as Thai citizens being asked not to wear clothing seen as “too cheerful”, or undertaking activities thought to be disrespectful to the national mood such as clubbing, sports or drinking.

One of the other restrictions was on TV broadcasting, which followed a restricted format following the former King’s demise. During the mourning period, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) restricted broadcasts to a series of videos drawn from the Television Pool of Thailand, showcasing a number of videos and photos of King Bhumibol. International channels were likewise blocked, and access to certain western news outlets was restricted.

After the King’s funeral procession, a degree of regular programming resumed, although anything depicting dancing, joy, celebration, violence, or excess of emotion was prohibited. Any documentaries or news reports critical or disrespectful to the Thai monarchy or its new king were likewise banned.

Now, after 100 days of official mourning, the NBTC has announced that is ready to begin its next stage in the resumption of usual service, although with some conditions. All stations are required to relay signals from the Television Pool of Thailand whenever royal funeral ceremonies are conducted, for example, and all stations are required to broadcast “King’s Philosophy for Sustainable Development”. Every Friday afternoon, signals from the Television Pool are to be aired by every station.

Until the late King is cremated, each station is to show a symbol of mourning in the top right of the screen.

Normal programming can now resume, provided it is in accordance with NBTC guidelines, so the former bans on the depiction of jubilation, violence, or expressive emotion are presumably lifted. It is suggested, but not required, that stations broadcast programmes about the work of the late King and shows in honour of new King Rama X and the Thai Royal Family.

Presenters and hosts are also asked to wear polite and appropriate clothing.

King Bhumibol of Thailand passed away on the 13th October 2016, after suffering a fever caused by a blood infection. His cremation ceremony is to be held within a specially built structure that will be torn down once the ceremony has been concluded. It will take around a year to complete.

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