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Thailand Looks to Regularize Community Radio

New tier of services planned to legalize more than 5,000 stations

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of Thailand is opening discussions about how to license and regulate some 5,000 community-level stations across the country.

The stations include public-service, community services and business-oriented stations; none are currently licensed and the NTC views such unlicensed operations as a national security threat, Col. Natee Sukolrat, chair of the NTC working group on community radio, told The Bangkok Post.

Hearings were held yesterday (11 May) to gain public comments about the proposed guidelines [PDF] for licensing community radio. The NTC hopes to have final approval of the regulations by 20 May.

Once the new regulations are adopted, operators will have 30 days to register with the NTC. They will be allowed to operate as trial services until licensing decisions are made. Stations that do not register could be subject to legal action.

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