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Future Forward’s Thanathorn demands an apology from conservative Nation TV

The Thaiger

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Future Forward’s Thanathorn demands an apology from conservative Nation TV | The Thaiger

The Future Forward Party leader is demanding an apology from Nation TV for broadcasting an edited voice clip that makes it appear like a conversation between him and former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

“I am demanding Nation apologise to me and the people who heard this content,” he said when given a chance to respond on Nation TV yesterday.

Nation TV is in the hot seat after the audio clip was aired on one of its most popular news programs, hosted by its star anchor Kanok Ratwongsakul on Tuesday.

Nation TV then interviewed Thanathorn by phone on Wednesday in another program, where the Future Forward party leader confirmed that the clip was faked. 

Thanathorn, campaigning in his first election with a progressive, pro-democracy platform, said on the program… ”The decision of Nation to air that clip showed the ethical standard of the Nation is on the decline.”

Most social media comments chastised the conservative Nation Channel 22 TV station saying the audio clip was “obviously fake”, made up as an edited voice montage of the two politicians speaking to different audiences on different occasions.

‘Stooping low’ said Thanathorn, in a telephone interview with another news program on Nation TV yesterday, and said he did not think “good” media outlets would broadcast such a clip.

“Good politics will never be possible without quality from the mass media.”

A station executive, however, stood firm about broadcasting the clip, claiming it was done in accordance with media ethics. He challenged Thanathorn to take legal action if he believed Nation TV had crossed the line.

Nation TV managing director Chatchai Pokogwai said the station was only doing its job, reporting what was happening and then offering Thanathorn a chance to give his side of the story. But the politician merely took the opportunity to reprimand the station harshly, he said.

A Thai-language hashtag that can be translated as “NationBusted” circulated online all day yesterday along with criticism of the media giant and its conservative anchor, Kanok.

The Thaksin camp has not reacted to the clip, but Thaksin Shinawatra’s son Panthongtae tweeted yesterday with a Thai hashtag that translates as ‘shame’ in English. 

Nation TV is the first 24-hour news television channel in Thailand, owned by Nation Broadcasting Corporation, a subsidiary of Nation Multimedia Group. The Thaiger has a news-sharing partnership with the Nation Multimedia Group.



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Bangkok

Thanathorn faces more charges from EC over media shares

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thanathorn faces more charges from EC over media shares | The Thaiger

Future Forward’s Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old leader of the new party, has cut short his trip to Europe over an ‘unexpected incident’

The Thai Election Commission yesterday unanimously resolved to press charges against Thanathorn over an alleged violation of Thai media shareholding rules.

Citing investigations by two EC panels, Sawang Boonmee, the EC deputy secretary-general, told a press conference that Thanathorn had allegedly violated the law by owning or holding 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Company while registering as a candidate for the general election.

“Thanathorn’s share certificate number is from 1350001 to 2025000,” said Sawang, referring to the findings of two panels the EC had set up to investigate the case.

Thanathorn has been accused of contravening the electoral laws that state a shareholder in a media company is barred from contesting an election for member of parliament, according to the EC. The action is punishable by disqualification. The case was filed by Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for Protection of the Thai Constitution, on March 25.

An EC source said the agency had yet to suspend Thanathorn’s right to contest in elections for one year or give him an “orange” card, as it was just an initial charge. Thanathorn will have seven days to give testimony or submit documents in his defence to the EC, Sawang said, adding his lawyers would also be allowed to witness the trial.

After the testimony, the EC will finalise the case as soon as possible in order to finish it before May 9 when it will announce the election results.

Thanathorn, whose party is tipped to win around 80 MP seats in the new lower house, was on the way back from his tour to Europe. He posted on his Facebook page yesterday that he had been notified to quickly return to Thailand to face an “unexpected incident”.

Future Forward secretary-general, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul has questioned the EC’s decision, saying the poll agency needs to wait until Thanathorn is endorsed as an MP before it can question his qualification.

Meanwhile, Raksagecha Chaechai, secretary-general of the Office of Ombudsman, said the EC had until today (Wednesday) to submit an explanation to the office regarding a petition seeking an annulment of the March 24 election.

The office last week resolved to accept the petition filed by the now-defunct Thai Raksa Chart Party’s former MP candidate, Reungkrai Leekijwatana, who asked the office to submit its opinion to the Administrative Court or the Constitutional Court regarding whether last month’s election should be annulled.

Thanathorn faces more charges from EC over media shares | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

New Economics Party clarifies their support for pro-democracy coalition

The Thaiger & The Nation

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New Economics Party clarifies their support for pro-democracy coalition | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Mingkwan Sangsuwan, New Economics Party leader – The Nation

Leader of the New Economics Party Mingkwan Sangsuwan hasy reiterated his party’s intention to join with the pro-democracy coalition (Pheu Thai, Future Forward) and against the pro-junta party, Phalang Pracharat.

Amid uncertainty over which camp New Economics would work with after the election, Mingkwan has clarified he would not join with Phalang Pracharat because of “ideological differences”.

Six New Economics candidates were elected in the March 24 poll. Mingkwan gave assurances at today’s press conference that none of the new MPs would defect. The party’s deputy leader, Supadit Argadriks, also repeated the party’s intent to help uphold democracy with a constitutional monarchy, and live up to its pledge to voters.

Some of the party’s members yesterday petitioned the Election Commission to dissolve the party, alleging it had fallen under outside influences related to powerful business interests. But the deputy leader insisted today that the party was united. He said the complaint had stemmed from a misunderstanding.

Supadit said legal action would be taken against the plaintiffs who filed the petition with the EC.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Piyabutr Sangkanokkul reports to police yesterday using the, now popular, anti-government three-finger salute – The Nation

by Kai Chanwanpen

While members of pro-democracy parties continue to be targeted with politically-motivated lawsuits, a political scientist is warning this tactic of eliminating political rivals through trivial matters of law could backfire and lead to a legitimacy crisis down the track.

In the latest case, the Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Sangkanokkul yesterday acknowledged the charges pressed against him by the ruling NCPO, whose chief is a prime ministerial candidate after the March 24 election.

“Seeking advantage over rivals is common in politics. But this cannot be without consequences. They could face questions of legitimacy even if they successfully conspire to attain their goal,” said Attasit Pankaew, a political expert from Thammasat University.

“All the unfairness that can be seen right now will lead people to question if Piyabutr would have been hit with a lawsuit if he were not so popular in the election.”

The pro- and anti-junta blocs have been going after each other since the election with politically motivated, and mostly relatively petty, lawsuits.

But when the court was petitioned to seek the disqualification of junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha as a prime ministerial candidate because he was a public servant, the ruling went in favour of the incumbent.

While these kinds of political challenges are common around the world, Attasit said that public sentiment could play a major role in making any change.

“It’s how the public responds to the treatment that could improve this culture,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the authority has to provide an explanation and ensure that the due process of law is followed without victimising political rivals.”

Piyabutr has been charged with contempt of court and breaching the computer crime law for reading out a statement in relation to the dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart Party in February.

Piyabutr, a former law lecturer at Thammasat University, yesterday denied the charges. He insisted on his innocence, saying as a law scholar the criticism was meant as an academic comment and that he believed in the justice system.

“The chief of the NCPO is the PM candidate of a political party, which was a rival of Future Forward Party in the election and he has assigned an official to prosecute me for contempt of court,” he said.

“Let me make an observation: the judicial branch is a part of the sovereign state and cannot escape criticism, especially the Constitutional Court which rules on political conflicts and whose judgement is likely to be scrutinised,” Piyabutr told reporters.

“Disagreement with a court judgement is not a crime.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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