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Thai artist to launch legal action over National Artist title being revoked

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/Mone Sawadsri

Thai artist Suchart Sawadsri says he’s taking legal action after losing the title of National Artist, allegedly because of his support for anti-government activists. Suchart says it’s not the loss of the title that bothers him, but the belief that the National Culture Commission behaved inappropriately in revoking it. The Bangkok Post reports that the artist took to Facebook to accuse the commission of corruption, adding that his reputation has been damaged and he has hired a lawyer to proceed with legal action.

Suchart was instrumental in the creation of the national artist award in 1984, before the Culture Ministry had been established in its own right and was instead part of the Education Ministry. The National Culture Commission is chaired by deputy PM, Wissanu Krea-ngam, alongside the Culture Minister, Itthipol Khunplome. It’s understood the commission recently made changes to a ministry regulation so they could revoke Suchart’s title.

Critics of the move say it was in retaliation for the artist criticising the government. However, Wissanu insists the decision to revoke the title was done in accordance with the regulations, adding that Suchart has a month to appeal.

The artist has previously expressed his support for student activists, who have regularly protested against the government, calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. While Wissanu says national artists are free to voice their political opinions, Suchart went too far, posting his anti-government views on multiple social media platforms. He adds that this is the first time a national artist has lost his title, but behaviour such as Suchart’s increases the risk of it happening.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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