Channel 3 Suspends News Anchor Over Royal Mistake

File photo of Thakorn Tanthasith, sec-gen of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission [Matichon].

BANGKOK – A state-owned TV station has suspended the news anchor who misidentified a member of the Thai Royal Family on the air yesterday, according to the sec-gen of Thailand's top media regulatory board.

Thakorn Tanthasith, sec-gen of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), said he has been "unofficially informed" by Channel 3 that the news anchor who incorrectly stated the name and rank of a royal princess has been suspended.

"I have learned that the anchorwoman has been suspended because of her error in reading the news about the Thai Royal Family," Thakorn told Khaosod. 

Channel 3 is currently under investigation for the incident, the NBTC told reporters yesterday.

Thakorn said the NBTC summoned Channel 3 representatives to give testimony today, but that the representatives have asked to postpone the meeting because they are "unable to compile information about the case in time." 

According to Thakorn, the NBTC concluded that the error constitutes a violation of Section 37 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."

He said the punishment will be decided after Channel 3 bosses testify before the committee.

"I sympathize with them that an error can happen," the NBTC sec-gen said. "As for the punishment, we have to wait for Channel 3's explanation first." 

Thailand has a number of laws that criminalize criticizing the Royal Thai Family, including Section 112 of the Criminal Codes, which punishes defaming the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison.

Due to these laws, Khaosod English is withholding other information about Channel 3's news coverage. 

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