BBC policy has always been to decide what is happening in Thailand from their office in London. After this, a script is sent to their zombie correspondent. The zombie stands on Bangkok’s Ploenchit Road (outside the BBC office in the Maneeya Center) and reads the lines, mimicking a real foreign correspondent.
In Britain, if you own a television you must buy a licence, or go to jail. The licence fee goes to the BBC. In 2013 there were 180,000 prosecutions and 32 people in jail for not paying up. The BBC is governed by Trustees who are appointed by the Queen. The people who pay the license fee have no say in the appointments. Nor do they have any say in the day to day management of the BBC, nor does Britain’s democratically elected Government. In a private company the Board is responsible to the shareholders, the Government is responsible to the electorate, the BBC is responsible to absolutely no one.
Despite being one of the World’s least Democratic organisations, the BBC makes judgments about which Governments in the world are democratic. In Thailand they decided that the Government of Billionaire racketeer Taksin Shinawatra was democratic, despite the fact that massive vote buying was obvious to everyone (you would have to be a zombie not to notice). However, the Government of Abhisit Vejjajiva was not democratic because the BBC said he had ties to the Military.
Private Tye suggest that the BBC has its Trustees elected by the TV licence holders, its judgments on democracy might have more credibility if it did.
The closure of the shortwave transmitters in Nakon Suwan was due to the failure of the BBC to reach agreement with the Thai government. It has been suggested that the Government’s criticism of the BBC Thai language service may be the reason. However, it is more likely that nobody listens to it anymore. The BBC’s brand of “holier than thou” fake news is increasingly irrelevant in Asia where people can choose their fake news from hundreds of cable and TV channels as well as thousands of Internet streams.
Zombie radio is a thing of the past. Asians want zombies on television not on radio.
The story from Associated Press via Khaosod (9 March):
BANGKOK — Britain’s BBC announced Wednesday it is ending its shortwave transmissions from Thailand after 20 years of operation because it failed to reach agreement with Thailand’s military government on a renewal of its operating permit.
The British Broadcasting Corp. said in a statement that the transmitters have been off the air since Jan. 1 after the previous agreement expired.
“Despite extensive negotiations, we have been unable to reach an agreement to re-commence transmissions. Given the financial constraints faced by the whole of the BBC, we have reluctantly decided to shut the site,” it said.
The decision to shut the site may cause 45 staff members to lose their jobs, it added.
East Asia was the primary area served by the transmitters in Nakhon Sawan in central Thailand. The BBC moved its East Asia relay station to Thailand from Hong Kong after the handover of the British colony to China in 1997.
Thailand’s government has publicly criticized the BBC’s online Thai language service, which covers political developments more frankly than local media.
“We regret that we have not been able to reach an agreement with the Thai government which would allow us to continue using this facility to bring accurate and impartial news to audiences in the region,” the BBC said. “We are continuing to develop other ways for people to access the BBC, including internet and mobile streaming, as well as FM radio and TV broadcasts.”
Last November, the BBC announced it would beam regular Korean-language broadcasts to North Korea, but
it was not clear whether the loss of the Thai transmission site might affect those plans. The U.S.-government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Asia already target North Korea.
Many international broadcasters have cut back or eliminated their shortwave services in recent times, supplanted by satellite television transmissions and the internet.