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Reform assembly pass controversial media control bill by 141 votes

The National Reform Steering Assembly on Monday endorsed the watered-down version of the media control bill with the omission of the controversial clause requiring the registration of media professionals and penalties for unregistered media professionals.

Members of the NRSA spent about eight hours debating on the bill, officially known as the Bill for the Protection of Rights and Freedom, Promotion of Ethics and Professional Standards of the Media before the bill was passed by 141 votes against 13 opposing votes with 17 abstentions.

ACM Kanit Suwannate, chairman of the media reform subcommittee which introduced the tighter media controlling measures, including the mandatory registration of media professionals, told the assembly that, in his whole life of military service, he had never given in so much as he did this time with the bill.

He said his panel decided to introduce control on the media because media organizations had, in the past two decades, failed to rein in the media to ensure they observe media's code of conduct.

After the passage of the bill, the NRA's scrutiny committee will amend the bill in accordance with the recommendations made during the debate after which it would be sent to the cabinet for consideration.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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