Controversy Surrounding Appointment of the NBTC

Before the Senate’s appointment of 11 members to the NBTC on 5 September, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) was authorized to perform certain duties of the nascent NBTC (see Section 80 of the NBTC Act below).  It was this body, the NTC exercising the powers of a nascent NBTC, which recently issued the controversial notification over “foreign domination” of telecommunications businesses.

The process of selecting the NBTC has been controversial and, according to the Bangkok Post, “punctuated by fierce lobbying”. The Department of Special Investigations reported that it is continuing its probe into the selection of the NBTC’s members.  The Nation reported on 9 September that the government is moving cautiously in seeking endorsement of the NBTC nominees and may consult with the Thai Council of State. For more background on the NBTC, please click here.

Section 80 of the Act on Organization to Assign Radio Frequency and to Regulate the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Services B.E. 2553 (2010) states that:

“Section 80. During the period which the appointment of the NBTC under this Act has not been completed yet, the National Telecommunications Commission established under the Organization to Assign Radio Frequency and to Regulate the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Services Act B.E. 2543 (2000) shall continue to perform the duties as the NBTC under this Act except for the broadcasting business under the Broadcasting Business Act, which shall be in accordance with that law.

The National Telecommunications Commission under paragraph one shall vacate office upon the appointment of the NBTC.”