In remote areas of Thailand, community broadcasters are the 21st century storytellers keeping stories, traditions and culture alive.
As the country prepares to switch from analogue broadcasting to digital television, some community television producers are concerned about costs, skills shortfalls and lack of guidance to effectively make the ‘Digital Switchover.’
To support these local broadcasters, ITU has partnered with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of Thailand to assist in the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The project has enabled community broadcasters to improve the quality of their services, expand their programme content and helps to meet the country’s ambition to promote and preserve Thai culture, especially through community broadcasting.
“Having Community media is part of the development process, it provides an opportunity to collect and preserve knowledge, as well as create a local identity and community,” says Chaiwat Chantima, Phayao Community TV.
In remote areas of Thailand, such Phayao in the north of the country, community broadcasters are the life-blood of communities, broadcasting relevant local news that no one else covers and delivering essential information for the community.
“When we have used broadcasting in the actual field of community development, we have found that it actually works. The villagers or residents of the communities can use community broadcasting to negotiate or become part of the policy that comes from the central government. And the government is keen to listen to the views of the community,” Dr. Phattar Burarak, Phayao University.
In addition to our work in Thailand, ITU is providing technical and regulatory assistance to guide the smooth transition to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting. Through published Guidelines for regulators, workshops and FAQs ITU helps to ensure that communities are not left behind and that they can reap the rewards of relevant, local broadcasting.
“ITU has experience in other countries for the regulatory aspect, they can provide experience how to integrate each kind of service, for example digital radio broadcasting,” said Parita Wongchutinat, NBTC.
This work is central to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals including SDG9, to promote inclusive industry and infrastructure and SDG10 for reduced inequalities.
“It’s not about the broadcast equipment, such as the studio facility, the most important aspect is… what benefits the community and where they can have their input added. Community TV is actually a community agenda,” Chaiwat Chantima, Phayao Community TV.
For more information about the status of the ‘Digital Switchover’ around the world visit the website here.
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