Massive fines unless World Cup broadcast free: Thai broadcast authority

Massive fines unless World Cup broadcast free: Thai broadcast authority

RS, Thailand's broadcasting right holders for this summer's Fifa World Cup, runs the risk of being fined up to Bt17.3 million (S$0.68 million), should the company fail to allow all 64 matches from Brazil to be shown on free TV, the Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) warned yesterday.

NBTC vice chairman Natee Sukonrat said RS cannot screen World Cup matches through its new set-top box without them being simultaneously broadcast on free TV.

He cited a Central Administrative Court decision in November that denied RS's appeal to exclude the football World Cup from the seven sporting events which must be televised by free TV as per NBTC regulations.

"Should RS or other companies advertise that people could watch more World Cup games via its set-top box than free TV, it would be deemed as an infringement. The punishment ranges from an initial fine of Bt5 million plus Bt100,000 each day and the licence of offending party rescinded.

"Since the court has already turned down RS appeal, it means the rules remain in effect until the court rules otherwise. So, we want to warn the company that it cannot have more World Cup games televised on its box," said Natee.

If RS goes ahead with its plan to give only 22 matches to free TV, it would cost them an estimated Bt8.2 million in fines for the whole period of the tournament between June 12 and July 13.

But if authorities penalise the company from the date when the World Cup box goes on sales on April 1, the company would receive additional fines totalling Bt9.1 million, meaning RS would likely be fined Bt17.3 in total.

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