Most national retailers in Thailand have just stopped handing out free plastic carrier bags to shoppers on January 1st
In the run up to the big day Thai TV added plastic bags to their list of social vices that must be optically censored, previously
guns, alcoholic drinks, and cigarettes.
Perhaps the TV companies would have more of an effect blurring out cars, motorbikes, airplanes, air conditioners and meat.
Anyway the censorship has caused much derision on social media and the Thai
environment minister stepped in to support the censorship.
National Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said it was easy for the online community to criticise this act of self-censorship by TV stations. He defended the
broadcasters' "well intentioned" efforts by comparing it to the censorship of alcohol and cigarettes.
A TV station in Thailand has agreed to allow government-approved 'Islamic experts' to censor the script for a TV serial after a small but vocal Muslim group whinged that the show 'misrepresents' their religion.
The soap opera Fah Jarod Sai
(Desert Horizon) stars Thai actors in a romantic melodrama portraying an imaginary Arab-style royal officer who falls in love with a girl who is half-Thai, half-French, in a fantasy kingdom named Hinfara.
On August 22, a small, outspoken
Bangkok-based group, Muslims for 'Peace', demanded Channel 7 cancel the series.
On August 24, in response, Channel 7's executives met Thailand's Muslim leader Aziz Phitakkumpon, who is the Chularatchamontri or State Counselor for Islamic
Affairs, which is an advisory position approved by the prime minister and appointed by the king.
The Muslims for 'Peace' presented their complaint to Channel 7, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, and the National
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The Muslims for Peace's petition claimed:
We are afraid that the lakhorn [soap opera] could eventually have large-scale and unpredictable effects on Muslims
if the ICT Ministry and the NBTC do not cancel Fah Jarod Sai.
Apparently the complainants felt that it was misleading to show the Muslim religion allowing its believers to be cruel to women and children.
The station had already
broadcast four episodes and had eight remaining episodes. These last episodes will now be censored prior to broadcast.
Thai Government figures have denied any political intervention in the abrupt termination of a controversial TV series on Channel 3, which was unexpectedly replaced last night with a new drama series.
Channel 3 announced in an onscreen message last
night that Nua Mek 2 (Above the Clouds 2) had been replaced earlier than scheduled because of supposedly inappropriate content.
The storyline focuses on a corrupt politician keen on profiteering on a satellite launch and a
sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics, and of course lots of soapy romance.
Comments on social media, have it the series was cut short at the orders of people in power who were stung by its content.
Vejjajiva, the prime minister's secretary-general, claimed that the government had never interfered with any TV drama or news report. The prime minister has nothing to do with the abrupt end of the drama, he said in a phone interview with The
The original schedule for Nua Mek 2 called for 12 episodes. Episode Nine aired last Sunday. As controversy mounted the producers hastily edited the last 3 episodes into a single episode to at least provide a presumably
uncontroversial end to the series. However even that edited last episode was cancelled, leaving the show's story unfinished.
Thailand's Daily News newspaper has reported the alarming news of the latest move by the Thai TV censor to improve the country's notorious soap operas.
Thais and even some foreigners who have been here long enough know how many of these
popular TV melodramas are committed to over-dramatisation and stereotyping of characters.
Jealousy, class discrimination, chauvinism, exaltation of wealth and power, violence, typecasting and reinforcement of prejudices against people like
housemaids, ethnic minorities and transvestites prevail in these television series. In recurring soap storylines, protagonists often can't seem to do anything wrong even when they commit some wrongs.
Daily News quoted Supinya Klangnarong, a member
of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), as saying guidelines will be issued to TV and radio producers addressing the negative aspects of Thai soaps in the hope that the industry can regulate itself. While such a code of
ethics will be non-binding, a warning will have been given and the future granting or renewal of permits by the NBTC to produce TV and radio content will be conditional on a review of soap-opera content, she said.
Supinya, who chairs the committee
for the promotion of self-regulation, was quoted as saying that she is aware that Thai soap operas are like sweets.
The more you eat the more delicious they become. But if you eat them everyday you will become fat. So
[the challenge] is how to imbue Thai soaps with morality that will cultivate the hearts of viewers.
This writer can't help but wonder if Thailand will really become a good society if all TV stations air moralistic soap operas,
along with religious programmes and mini-dramas extolling the virtues of the monarchy. Perhaps it depends on how you define a good society. I am concerned, however, that people will become increasingly unable to shoulder responsibility and apply
common sense by themselves - and this can't be good.
Thai Channel 3 looks to more child-friendly programming
There's not much left
to censor on Thai TV and still social problems persist. Total failure to 'cure' any of the world's ills via censorship is always just taken as a bogus justification for censoring more.
Thai Channel 3 soap opera fans will no longer get to see any kissing scenes.
The channel is now only allowing love scenes to feature kissing on the cheeks and foreheads, hugging and embracing.
Channel 3 is moving top more child-friendly
programming and more children programs.
Channel 3 Executive Prawit Maleenont has banned kissing in soap operas and told soap producers to go the traditional Thai love scene route with only kisses on the forehead and cheek and hugging and
Production executive for Channel 3 Somrak Narongwichai says this year's soap will reflect social problems and will be more realistic in that characters will have occupations and careers.
But of course less realistic in that
lovers will go round kissing each other on the forehead.