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Thai charter clause to prevent media domination

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Charter clause to prevent media domination
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The new constitution will have a clause that is designed to prevent investor domination over media businesses through hostile takeovers, a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) said yesterday.

The move follows the controversy involving Solution Corner Plc’s acquisition of a 22.7-per-cent stake worth over Bt1 billion in the Nation Multimedia Group, which owns The Nation newspaper. A source in the CDC’s working group on this matter said that the new constitutional clause would be based on the chapter about “liberties in expression of persons and mass media” in the previous charter.

The constitution of 2007 was abolished after the coup in May last year.

The source said that the relevant sections from the 2007 Charter would be retained, with an additional clause added to prevent cross right-holding or market dominance amongst mass-media businesses. Such dominance, the source said, would adversely affect the public’s right to information.

Section 47 of the previous constitution states: “There shall be measures for preventing any merger, cross right-holding or market dominance amongst mass media businesses or by any other person which has the effect of impeding the liberty of the public in perceiving information or of obstructing public access to a diversity of information.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

From 40 million visitors to 41: first STV tourists arrive

Maya Taylor

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From 40 million visitors to 41: first STV tourists arrive | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

In 2019, almost 40 million tourists arrived in Thailand. Yesterday, it was 41. As the Thais say, cha cha… Thailand is slowly, slowly, re-opening its borders after the Covid-19 pandemic forced a total shutdown in March. Yesterday, the Kingdom welcomed its first tourists in 7 months, with the arrival of 41 Chinese tourists from Shanghai. The group landed at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport on a chartered flight laid on by Spring Airlines, a low-cost Chinese carrier.

The visitors are here on the recently-launched Special Tourist Visa and upon touchdown, had to download a special app to track their movements while in Thailand. Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, also confirmed they will carry out 14 days’ quarantine, before they are free to travel around. The STV grants them a stay of up to 90 days and can be extended twice.

“Most of them planned to visit the beach and they already reserved hotel rooms.”

Meanwhile, the southern island of Phuket had been expecting to welcome around 120 Chinese tourists on October 8, but that visit never materialised, with various reasons given for the delay. Some officials pointed to the island’s legendary vegetarian festival, which is currently underway, saying they did not want to deter domestic tourists who might be afraid of an increased risk of the virus. Others said it was simply because officials on the island wouldn’t have the manpower to deal with both events. And others still pointed to the small matter of nobody having applied to come.

The STV scheme appears to be finally up and running however, even if Phuket appears to have been left out of the picture for now. Yuthasak confirms another 147 Chinese tourists are scheduled to land at Suvarnabhumi on October 26, adding (very optimistically) that they’re expected to spend around 800,000 baht each while here.

Thai Airways has also confirmed it will bring 120 visitors from Shanghai to Bangkok on October 28. This group will consist of various categories, including tourists, repatriating Thais, and others arriving on medical visas.

In 2019, the Chinese made up the vast majority of foreign arrivals in the Kingdom, at around 10.99 million. Yuthasak is hopeful the return of international visitors is the beginning of the tourism sector’s recovery. Be that as it may, it’s almost certain there’s a very long and winding road ahead.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver

Caitlin Ashworth

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Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver | The Thaiger
PHOTO: NewsBeezer

A National Anti-Corruption Commission senior official was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 1 year in jail with a 2 year suspension for pointing a loaded .38 Colt pistol, threatening a Bangkok taxi driver back in 2018. Nation Thailand called it a “very lenient” sentence.

The assistant secretary general of the commission, 54 year old Piset Nakapan, must also pay a fine of 31,000 baht. He was charged with weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a weapon in public, threatening others, and violating the Firearms Act.

Footage from the taxi’s dashboard camera shows Piset getting out of his car and pointing the loaded gun at the taxi. He said to the driver, Pipat Seesa-on, “Why are you following me? Drive back and use another road.”

At the trail, Piset confessed to the charges and gave Pipat 2,000 baht as compensation. Since he confessed, the court commuted his sentence in half, cutting down the 2 year jail term to just a year and a 62,000 baht fine down to 31,000 baht. His jail term is suspended for 2 years, with mandatory probation check-ins every 4 months.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue

Caitlin Ashworth

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Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue | The Thaiger

In the midst of Thailand reopening its borders to foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa, political protests have only grown in Bangkok and are now being held in cities across Thailand. Now tourism operators are worried and are asking the government to engage in dialogue with the protesters. President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Trirattanajarasporn says he’s worried about another coup (Thailand’s had 12 since 1932) being used to solve the problems rather than talking it out.

“If the situation’s gone too far, I am concerned a coup will worsen the economy and affect the country’s image on the global stage… A coup is not the ultimate solution to the problem.”

Now that the protests are spreading across the country, Chairat says some tourist destinations could be impacted. In Bangkok, traffic has been blocked on busy intersections by thousands of protesters. BTS and MRT stations have also been shut down during some protests. He adds that people also tend to save their money during times of protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

“At this moment, the government has to show protesters and Thais the improvements they have brought about during the past 6 years, instead of harassing them for speaking up.”

On the flip side, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says he’s checked with TAT’s 29 overseas offices that have been monitoring international feedback and no one has reported concerns with Thailand’s political climate, adding that the visitors on the Special Tourist Visa are sticking with their plans to travel to Thailand.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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