‘Must have, must carry’ rule to end

'Must have, must carry' rule to end

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission’s (NBTC) Television Broadcasting Service Subcommittee yesterday agreed to cancel its “must have, must carry” rule.

Acting NBTC secretary-general Trairat Viriyasirikul said that the cancellation would benefit the NBTC as it will no longer need to get involved in financially supporting the broadcasting of some of the world’s biggest sporting events.

In the future, such broadcasting will be handled by the private sector, he said.

Mr Trairat said a public hearing is needed to sound out the revocation of the rule.

The “must have, must carry” rule required the free live broadcasting of seven major sporting competitions — the Fifa World Cup, Southeast Asian Games, Asean Para Games, Asian Games, Asian Para Games, Olympic Games, and Paralympic Games.

The rule came under fire after the NBTC contributed 600 million baht from its Universal Service Obligation fund to the Sports Authority of Thailand for the 1.4-billion baht purchase of the broadcasting rights for the Fifa World Cup 2022.

The broadcast licence, however, was given to a third party, which was regarded as a major sponsor, leading to the problem that not all television channels were given equal opportunities to broadcast all of the football tournament matches live under the “must-carry” rule.

The NBTC filed suit demanding SAT return the money. The case is still in court, said Mr Trairat.