Thailand replaces all TV channels with monochrome palace broadcast

A nurse watches a TV broadcast in black and white of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha after King Bhumibol Adulyadej's death at a hospital in Bangkok, Oct 13, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - All Thai television channels - including international satellite networks - were replaced with black and white palace broadcasts late on Thursday (Oct 13) following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

TV networks were ordered to replace their programmes with a pre-prepared rolling state media programme for the next month, junta spokesman Lieutenant-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd told reporters.

All broadcasters must "link to a signal from television pool for 30 days," he said.

As soon as the King's death was announced, domestic stations switched to rolling footage showing monochrome pictures and video of the King throughout his 70-year reign.

Satellite channels - including international news networks like the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera - were replaced later in the day with the same programming.

Two different satellite boxes in AFP's Bangkok bureau only had channels showing the state footage.

Others reported similar scenes in hotels and at home.

The move means most Thais are currently unable to access independent news through their televisions at a time when the country undergoes a watershed moment and the first succession in 70 years.

Thai newspaper websites were still publishing their own material late on Thursday but they too had ditched colour.

The Bangkok Post's usual blue masthead was a dull grey with a large monochrome picture of Bhumibol above it. Even advertisements has been leached of colour.

The Nation, another English language newspaper, had replaced its homepage with a picture of the King under the headline "Kingdom Grieves", all of it black and white.

Major Thai language newspapers like Thairath, Matichon had done the same. Even Pantip, a wildly popular Thai language chat forum, had gone entirely black and white.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.