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Army TV channel director replaced over Russia-Ukraine war coverage

Army TV channel director replaced over Russia-Ukraine war coverage

BANGKOK: The head of army-owned TV Channel 5 is being replaced amid reports of controversial meetings and orders regarding news coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 29 March 2022, 03:51PM

Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap, president of the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station, aka TV Channel 5. Photo: TV Channel 5

Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap, president of the Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station, aka TV Channel 5. Photo: TV Channel 5

A source said today (Mar 29) that army commander-in-chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae had ordered the replacement of Channel 5 president Gen Rangsee Kitiyanasap with Lt Gen Wisanti Sasrida, former director of the Army Training Command, effective on Apr 7.

All three generals were members of Class 22 at the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School, and Gen Narongphan and Gen Rangsi have been close friends for over 40 years since then, reports the Bangkok Post.

Lt Gen Wisanti was expected to run the military TV channel for six months, until his retirement in October.

Gen Rangsee said today that he had not been sacked, because he sent his resignation letter to the army chief yesterday. He said he had personal reasons for tendering his resignation.

Asked if it stemmed from an order that the channel not report news about the Russia-Ukraine war, Gen Rangsi said that depended on the judgement of the media.

Gen Rangsi had earlier assigned the pro-government Top News TV team to supply news content to Channel 5.

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Recently he met the Russian ambassador to Thailand and signed an agreement about the channel’s news coverage of the war. He said he intended to ensure more balanced news, in comparison with reports by Western media.

Under the agreement, Channel 5 staff would verify reports with the Russian embassy and also present news from Russia.

This led to criticism of the neutrality of the channel. Gen Rangsi later promised the Ukrainian ambassador to Thailand that news coverage would be neutral.

However, sources said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was concerned about the issue and ordered Channel 5 to refrain from covering news about the war.

Yesterday, the team supplying news to Channel 5 was presenting a report about the war and its signal was abruptly disconnected. That led to speculation that the Top News team would withdraw from the channel at the end of this month.

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Fascinated | 30 March 2022 - 12:33:25

Did anyone really expect the gov't propaganda station to be neutral! Nice of the PM to be concerned about Russia's image, not the war crimes it is carrying out.

DeKaaskopp | 30 March 2022 - 11:23:53

@Kurt   Europeans not go Thailand this year because they spend their money to host Ukrainian refugees ?   555   That is by far the biggest nonsense you ever posted. You really think Europeans are all good Samaritans and waive their hard earned holidays to support refugees ? On what planet do you live ?  Will you wave  your holiday this year in order to support Ukrainians too ? Lol !

Kurt | 30 March 2022 - 10:39:10

We all witness on BBC World and CNN, and more international channels, the war crimes Russia commits in Ukraine. That Thai Government refuse to address that is saying something. So you never connect with the real world outside Thailand. Europeans not go Thailand holidays. They spend their money this year on hosting almost 4M Ukraine refugees.

Nasa12 | 30 March 2022 - 10:08:27

Are u fn serious how low will Thailand go to check reports with Russia prior to airing it to give an unbiased view typical Thailand communist country at heart. Absolutely pathetic seeking permission from a country that is slaughtering innocent people and children report yhe real story you pathetic grubs.

JohnC | 30 March 2022 - 09:52:11

The first amendment is something Thais will never be able to enjoy kn any form while they allow their country to be run by any form of military government. 

Kurt | 30 March 2022 - 00:49:44

Half the Thai news will be checked and signed by russian ambassador when agreed bij Russia, the other half by China.  Great Thai balanced between 2 communist countries.  :-)

DeKaaskopp | 29 March 2022 - 17:32:52

Fact is that there are some fake news circulating on a few "western" media outlets , but Russian state controlled media is so far away from telling the truth. Channel 5 should send their own journalists to the Ukraine for an independent war coverage . The result will probably not satisfy the Russian ambassador. 

Nasa12 | 29 March 2022 - 17:13:42

An army controlled Thai govt with an army controlled TV station claiming to be more neutral. A classic oxymoron if ever Ive seen one.


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