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Nation Group to sue NBTC over hostile takeover bid

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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Nation Group to sue NBTC over hostile takeover bid
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Nation Multimedia Group (NMG) will petition the Administrative Court against three members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission’s broadcasting committee for alleged dereliction of duty in deciding the legitimacy of SLC’s stake in NMG.

The three members named in the petition will be Colonel Natee Sukonrat, who is chairman of the NBTC’s broadcasting committee, Pol Colonel Taweesak Ngamsanga, and Lt-General Peerapong Manakit.

All three will be accused of violating Articles 31 and 32 of the Broadcasting Business Act of 2008 and the criteria used for selection of those who can be stockholders and stakeholders before and after the digital TV bidding. They are being accused of failing to enforce the law, leading to the danger of dominance in the media and also of violating free and fair business competition.

Under the rules governing the auction of digital TV licences, a major shareholder was not allowed to hold more than 10 per cent of other companies in the same licence category. The “major shareholder” is not only defined as a person or juristic person allowed to have ownership of not more than 10 per cent of the company, but also mutual beneficiaries. The SLC and its subsidiaries wholly own Spring News digital TV.

NMG yesterday said in a statement that the broadcasting committee’s working group on February 11 had disclosed about the shareholding of SLC and the people who will share the benefit in NMG, with a combined stake of more than 35 per cent. They comprise SLC with 12.27 per cent share, Wattana Capital Plc – which later changed its name to Polaris Capital Plc – with 7.54 per cent, and other individuals who share the benefit with SLC with a combined stake of 16.31 per cent. Together they have at least a 36 per cent stake in NMG and have become major shareholders with the power to control and have a significant impact on NMG’s business in the future.

The move came after the broadcasting regulator yesterday decided not to take any legal action in the controversial case regarding the alleged violation by News Network Corporation (NEWS), formerly known as Solution Corner (1998), or SLC, of the rules covering the auction of digital-TV licences. The decision on the legitimacy of the acquisition of a 12.27-per-cent stake in NMG by SLC was delayed twice since last year.

Two of the five members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s broadcasting committee – Supinya Klangnarong and Thawatchai Jittrapanun – voted at yesterday’s meeting that the digital TV auction rules against hegemony should remain valid. Two other members – Natee and Thaweesak – abstained on the grounds that the auction’s rules for digital TV licences should not be enforced after the fact.

Natee earlier said the agenda item on the enforcement of rules should not deserve consideration.

However, Peerapong, as a swing member, voted against applying the rules against NEWS.

“The meeting’s outcome was 2:2:1, so the committee cannot take any action on the case,” said Sombat Leelapata, acting deputy secretary-general of the broadcasting committee.

On December 22, three of the committee’s five members – Supinya, Thawatchai and Peerapong – voted to table the case for consideration later.

Peerapong’s “no” vote at yesterday’s meeting was considered a surprise. But he reasoned that SLC was deemed to hold no controlling power over NMG, as it owns only 12.27 per cent. He said SLC held an equity stake in NMG, not in NBC Next Vision Co (NNV), which is a holder of a digital-TV licence.

NNV is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nation Broadcasting Corporation, which is a 70-per-cent-owned subsidiary of NMG. Sombat said Peerapong took the view that there was no evidence of SLC taking control of NBC Next Vision in terms of its shareholding structure.

Supinya and Thawatchai disagreed with Peerapong, saying there was evidence from legal and educational organisations that SLC has controlling power over NNV.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Week In Review | February 26 | The Thaiger

Thailand News Today usually covers five days of the news week. This week only four days as today (Friday) is a public holiday. Now we have a weekend edition which goes over the biggest, or best stories, from the past week. Out every Saturday afternoon, catch up with Jett and Tim’s major Thai news stories. Welcome to the Thailand News Today Week in Review. Tim and Jett give you a quick recap of the main news stories.

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Thailand

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update

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45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | The Thaiger

Thailand reports 45 new cases of Covid-19cases today, with 37 infections being locally-transmitted. 8 of those infections were imported, raising the total amount of infections since the pandemic began to 25,809.

The Department of Disease Control reports that 32 cases were confirmed at hospitals with 5 confirmed through active case finding in communities.

Samut Sakhon province, the 2nd wave epicentre, reported over half of the new cases at 19. 14 of those cases were confirmed at hospitals and 5 were detected in Myanmar communities. Bangkok has reported 3 new cases, Nakhon Nayok reported 5, Chai Nat 3, Nakhon Pathom 3, Saraburi 2, Prachuap Khiri Khan 1, and Samut Prakan 1.

45 new cases today, 37 local‐Covid‐19‐Update | News by The Thaiger

The 8 imported cases were those under quarantine arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Kuwait. The case from the UK was that of a 6 year old Thai schoolgirl.

Globally, Covid-19 cases rose by 444,466 over the past day to 113.54 million. The worldwide death toll increased by 10,552 to 2.52 million. The United States still has the most cases at 29.5 million, with the most deaths at 520,785.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic

Maya Taylor

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Surveys show Thailand still one of the top holiday choices post-pandemic | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The Stockholm office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has conducted a survey in which 62% of respondents say they want to spend winter in Thailand provided restrictions are lifted. The top destinations are Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak, followed by Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, Koh Tao, Bangkok, and Hua Hin.

68% say they would cancel bookings if the 14-day quarantine remains in place. 26% say they would still go ahead, and 13% said they’d be in favour of quarantine being cut to 10 days. 99% of participants say they would be worried about testing positive for Covid-19 after travel plans have been made.

Meanwhile, the TAT’s London office has also been busy, carrying out a survey in conjunction with market research firm, YouGov. The idea behind the survey was to get an idea of the future of tourism once the pandemic is over.

4,127 people took part, with 75% of them saying they’re prepared to be vaccinated if it’s required for travel. 41% are against mandatory quarantine, although 52% would accept a 5-day quarantine. 62% of those planning holidays are over the age of 50 and interested in countries with low infection rates.

According to a Nation Thailand report, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot from the TAT says the findings of the survey indicate that up to 6 million people are interested in travelling to Thailand at some point this year.

Meanwhile, a number of online travel agency platforms in France have also carried out a survey. The poll, conducted by companies such as Go Voy, Opodo, and eDreams, showed that the number of hits to tourism-related websites rose by 15% once the success of Covid-19 vaccines was announced. The top destinations searched for were Dubai at 49%, Marrakesh at 27%, and Bangkok at 25%.

Another travel survey in the Americas found that most holidaymakers have chosen to postpone their trips by 7 months to a year, rather than cancelling completely. Siripakorn says that booking flexibility is a priority for Americans.

“Flexibility to reschedule is the top priority for American tourists, followed by safety. These tourists are looking for safety, no quarantine, flexibility, and no deposit.”

Meanwhile, a report issued by Skift Research shows that travel will not recover until 2023 and will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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