Monday, September 1, 2014   

Thai junta wants free World Cup broadcasts in 'happiness' drive
(06-12 16:13)

Thailand's junta said it wanted all World Cup matches to be broadcast on free-to-air television, in an effort to improve the national mood after seizing power in a coup last month.
Stepping into a dispute between a television regulator and Thai entertainment company RS, the army urged the private firm to share its live broadcast rights of football's showpiece tournament -- kicking off Thursday in Brazil -- with public channels.
''We are concerned and want all Thai people to be able to watch the football (for free),'' junta spokesman Winthai Suvaree said. ''We are not forcing but we are just asking for co-operation,'' he said, referring to the army's request for the National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission to resolve the issue.
RS has agreed to share the rights for 22 games with free TV, but fans were pinning hopes on the outcome of a meeting Thursday to see if the remaining 42 games would also be aired without charge.
Thai viewers have already been dealt a blow after the army refused to lift an overnight curfew in many places -- including Bangkok -- meaning they will have to watch the tournament from home rather than in bars and restaurants.
A court on Wednesday said RS did not have to relinquish its rights to the remaining games, prompting the military to contact the NBTC.--AFP
   
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