Film Regulation in Thailand
This article describes the current situation of film regulation in Thailand and explores problems with the regulation system. At present the Thai government uses state control to regulate the content of motion pictures but there are no laws governing film structure regulation. Film regulation in Thailand has shifted from a system of prior censorship that was used for more than 70 years to a new system of film classification, or a rating system, that was instituted in 2009. Content regulation of films in Thailand falls under the legislation of the“Film and Video Act B.E. 2551 (C.E. 2008)” and the rating system is delineated in the attendant Ministerial Regulations on Classification of Films, B.E. 2552 (C.E. 2009). The law calls for a committee under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture to be in charge of rating films, placing them into one of 7 categories. The problems with the content regulation of films in Thailand that are still under heavy debate by academics, professionals in the film industry, and society at large include unfitting or unfair ratings given to certain films, different interpretations of the law, and the use of discretion by each rating committee, which lacks clear guiding principles and leads to a large variation in rating standards. The recommendations for improving the situation: (1) Clear principles for film rating decisions should be agreed upon by all stakeholders and then written up as guidelines for the film rating committee so the members can adhere to common standards as much as possible. (2) A short explanation should be given as to why each film was given the rating it was. (3) Information about the decisions of the film rating committee should be widely disseminated so that not only will more members of the viewing public be aware of the ratings, but people will be more knowledgeable about the rating system used in Thailand. (4) Lawmakers should consider revising the rating categories for youth viewers., especially the 13+ “appropriate for viewers aged 13 years and over” and 15+ “appropriate for viewers aged 15 years and over” categories, because adolescents in the 13-15 age range are really very similar. (5) Agencies responsible for film regulation must have a system and mechanisms for monitoring, evaluating and gathering information on problems and difficulties that affect film regulation in Thailand so that they can develop the system and methods and make improvements where necessary.
Index Terms - Film regulation, film classification, film legislation, Thailand.