BROADCASTING ROW OVER TITV TRANSFERS
Sonthiyarn appointment halted
The Administrative Court yesterday ordered the Public Relations Department (PRD) to suspend the appointment of Sonthiyarn Chuenrutainaitham as acting news director of TITV. The order came as the court agreed to hear a petition submitted by a group of 12 senior officials and employees of the station, led by former managing director Alongkorn Muandao, who faced an abrupt transfer order on Dec 21, two days before the general election.
They filed a lawsuit against PRD director-general Pramoj Rathavinij for alleged misconduct, claiming their transfers were politically motivated and tantamount to media intervention, which was unconstitutional. They also asked the court to grant an injunction against the transfer order.
Under the order, Mr Sonthiyarn, former managing director of INN news outlet, was to replace Atcha Suwannapakpraek as news director while Mr Atcha wast to take the position of assistant director for news and TV programmes.
The court asked the PRD to suspend the order because the appointment of Mr Sonthiyarn would affect the work of the TV station which was constitutionally protected from both direct and indirect interference from the state.
The court said its order should not affect the daily operation of the station.
However, the court dismissed a call for the reinstatement of the remaining 11 executives and news staff, except for the case of Mr Atcha, to their former positions as there has been no replacement so far and all of them continue to work in the same positions as stated in their work contracts.
Moreover, the court did not instruct the PRD to revoke its appointment orders for four other officials at the station.