TV cancellation causes uproar in Thailand

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  Jan. 7, 2013 at 2:01 PM
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A popular Thai soap opera has been pulled off the air, infuriating its fans and sparking accusations of government censorship.

Nua Mek 2 was taken off air on Friday, The Bangkok Post reported, supposedly because its "content is deemed inappropriate."

The show, whose title translates to "Beyond the Clouds" or "Beyond Comparison," tells the story of corrupt politicians who use profiteering and sorcery to manipulate policy. It began airing on December 14, and its cancellation leaves three episodes unaired.

According to the Post, government officials met with executives of Channel 3, the network on which Nua Mek 2 aired, and decided the series would immediately stop airing.

An onscreen message informed viewers that the show would be cancelled.

Fans of the show turned to social media to blame government censorship and weak-willed executives at Channel 3 for the show's cancellation.

"This is not democracy. So Channel 3 people are slaves owned by politicians," one person said on Facebook. "Can't they tell the difference between reality and a soapie or did it affect anyone in particular?" asked another. The government has so far denied putting any pressure on the network to cancel the show, the International Business Times said. Channel 3 executives officially cited Section 37 of the Broadcast and Telecommunications Operations Act, prohibiting "content that seeks to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, threatens national security and morality, or constitutes profanity or causes severe harm to people's mental or physical health."

Reporters Without Borders, a group advocating for freedom of information, ranks Thailand 137th (of 179) on its freedom index for 2011-2012.

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