Television to Return to B&W in Run-Up to Royal Funeral

Toned-down programming broadcast 18 Oct. 2016 by state-owned MCOT. Photo: NineEntertain Official / YouTube

BANGKOK — The government has asked television broadcasters to desaturate their colors and air programming about His Majesty Rama IX for the 20 days leading up to his cremation.

Cabinet member Ormsin Chivapruck said Tuesday that for the duration of funerary rites, all channels should cooperate by toning down their programming: both in color and content.

“From 1 to 20 October, TV stations must adjust the color tones and content of their aired shows,” Ormsin said. “From 21 to 24 October, special programming to honor His Majesty Rama IX will be shown. Funerary rituals will be shown on 25 October, then from 26 to 29 October, the cremation ceremony of King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be aired,”

Ormsin said that the media was currently cooperating. He also requested that on Oct. 26, the first day of the cremation, that large screens at traffic intersections broadcast the ritual.

King Bhumibol died Oct. 13, 2016, at 88.

For a month after his death, TV programming aired with less color, and many websites switched to black and white. Even today, most sites on the Thai web have retained black-and-white toggle options or include a mourning ribbon on the page.

Websites have not been asked to go dark for the funeral, however.

Upon Rama IX’s death, the government asked for 30 days without entertainment and declared a year of mourning during which officials would be required to wear black. Many private citizens have chosen to wear black as well along with ribbons or pins with the Thai numeral nine to show their grief. Lines continue to form outside the Grand Palace for people to pay their respects to the late king.

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