Election Commission to probe Pheu Thai candidates' TV shows

Election Commission to probe Pheu Thai candidates' TV shows
A supporter of Puea Thai party carries a sign with the number 15, referring to the party's number during the elections, poses for photographers at the launch of election campaign in Bangkok on January 4, 2014.

The Election Commission (EC) will decide whether any electoral offences have been committed after Pheu Thai Party parliamentary candidates appeared on television programmes produced by state-run TV channel.

EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said yesterday the EC's legal team would scrutinise whether the candidates committed an offence because the media coverage took place when the royal decree on the general election was in effect.

He criticised the National Broadcasting Television (NBT) for giving the candidates an advantage over others even though the EC had already given guidelines to the station's public relations director-general to follow during the election campaign.

"It is inappropriate because every media channel has been careful not to present programmes that would be unfair to MP candidates or help boost the popularity of certain candidates," he said.

"The NBT is state-run and cannot claim that it rents time to private companies."

Pheu Thai legal expert Bhokin Bhalakula said the party was confident it did nothing wrong as it did not force the station to invite the candidates and they only talked about the election, not their election campaigns.

The party's deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said the EC should look into the television presence of the Democrats before the election in 2011.

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