The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s (NBTC) telecom committee says it will drop a defamation suit against Thai PBS anchor Nattha Komolvadhin.
It has not considered whether it will do the same for Duenden Nikomborirak, a researcher at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) who also faces a libel suit.
Both women were sued after Ms Duenden told Nattha in an interview that the telecom committee’s decision to grant two private firms a one-year extension on their mobile phone frequencies could lead to the country incurring significant opportunity costs.
Ms Duenden was referring to the TDRI’s research paper on CAT Telecom’s 1800MHz mobile phone concessions to 2G mobile phone operators True Move and Digital Phone, which were due to expire on Sunday.
Instead of requiring the two firms to return the frequencies immediately to the NBTC to pave the way for the 4G mobile phone licence auction, the panel decided to give them one more year to return the spectrum. The one-year delay will push back the 4G auction.
The withdrawal of the case against Nattha is aimed at improving relations between the telecom regulator and the media, according to an NBTC commissioner who asked not to be named.
“We [the NBTC] will talk with Nattha on the withdrawal issue on Thursday,” the commissioner said.
First published in Bangkok Post, 19 September 2013