TV Cancellation Causes Uproar: Thailand Censorship To Blame?
A new and phenomenally well-received Thailand TV show was just pulled from the air. Now, the show's avid viewers are in an uproar and demand are demanding the station to air its final episodes.
The show is "Neua Mek 2," an edgy series that premiered in December 14 and follows a story of a villainous Thai prime minister with a corrupt deputy in a society with political manipulation and black magic. Action packed, the show challenged the ethical compass of both politicians and human behings in general. However, Thailand's Channel 3 announced Friday that it will immediately stop airing the prime-time drama after the company decided that "some content was inappropriate for broadcast." In fact, the show's two final two-hour episodes were scheduled to air on Friday and Saturday.
For reasons not officially revealed, the station has chosen not to share the decision behind the show's cancellation. However, according to , Channel 3 execs have disclosed with a member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Thailand's broadcast regulator, that the show's content may risk violation of the law. More specifically, Section 37 of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Operations Act prohibits "content that seeks to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, threatens national security or morality, or constitutes profanity or causes severe harm to people's mental or physical health."
Scripts leaked onto the web revealed the the prime minister in the show was to be assassinated by the series' end.
Some die-hard viewers of the hit TV show have crafted some rather eyebrow-raising conspiracy theories - the Thailand government, which closely regulates the content on Thai TV, is responsible of the show's cancellation. Did the fictional political corruption theme that made the show into hit also take the show down in real life?
That said, government officials denied involvement with Channel 3's "Neua Mek 2" termination. "Those who know best (about the issue) are the broadcaster, producers and related personnel," said Prime Minister's Office minister Warathep Rattanakorn.
Despite the controversey, or perhaps because of it, viewers are supporting "Neua Mek 2" so passionately that they are even threatening to boycott the Channel 3 should they never air the remaining episodes.
Some supporters even created a Facebook page, "Bring Me Back Neua Mek 2," which gained more than 47,000 over a weekend. A fan wrote on the page: "How come in this society you're being attacked when you speak the truth? I want the show to run until the end. At least it can open our eyes wide enough to see what our country is really like!!!"
A mixed reaction, the Thai Constitution Protection Association will proceed to force Channel 3 to air the final two episodes of "Neua Mek 2" before revoking Channel 3's broadcast concessions.
According to secretary-general of the TCPA, "It hurts the viewers' feelings and has infringed on the rights of Thai consumers. They have the constitutional right to watch it until the end."
Star Tribune emphasized the heavy censorship applied on Thai TV. Scenes involving cigarettes, alcohol and people held at gunpoint are blurred.
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