Channel 3 Investigated for Misidentifying Crown Prince’s Ex-Wife

Princess Soamsawali presides over the opening ceremony of an exhibition of history of French cuisine at Silpakorn University, 19 August 2012

BANGKOK – Thailand's top media regulatory board has launched an investigation into a state-owned TV station after one of its anchors misidentified a member of the Royal Thai Family in a news program.

Lt.Gen. Peerapong Manakit, a member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), told Naew Na newspaper that the incident took place this morning when a Channel 3 anchorwoman "incorrectly stated the royal name and rank" of Princess Soamsawali, former wife of Thai Crown Prince, in a news report about Her Royal Highness' trip to a temple. 

Princess Soamsawali was married to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn in 1977. The couple divorced in 1991.

According to Lt.Gen. Peerapong, the mistake constitutes a violation of the 2008 Thai Public Broadcasting Service Act, which forbids airing content that could "lead to an overthrow of the regime of democracy with the King As Head of State or affects the national security, peace and order, and good morality of the people."

Representatives of Channel 3 have been summoned to give testimony to the NBTC "urgently," said Lt.Gen. Peerapong, adding that any punishment will be decided after the commission listens to Channel 3's side of the story.

"We want to be fair and give Channel 3 the opportunity to explain," Lt.Gen. Peerapong was quoted as saying by Naew Na. "Then we will use the testimony in our deliberation of punishment." 

The general also asked media agencies not to publish details about Channel 3's alleged wrongdoing, or else they will be liable for prosecution as well.

Thailand has a number of laws that strictly prohibit criticism of the Royal Thai Family, including Section 112 of the Criminal Codes, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for defaming the monarchy.

Due to these laws, Khaosod English is complying with Lt.Gen. Peerapong's request and withholding other information about Channel 3's news coverage. 

 

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