Thai Constitutional Court ruling spares Pita stating iTV not mass media

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

The Constitutional Court’s panel of judges has ruled ex-Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat not guilty in the iTV shareholding case regarding his membership in the House of Representatives.

The court met at 9.30am today, January 24, to discuss and vote in the case where the Election Commission (EC) had requested to decide the case of Pita who is a shareholder in iTV Public Company Limited, operating newspapers and other mass media, making him ineligible to apply for MP membership, according to the Constitution, Section 101 (6) in conjunction with Section 98 (3).

The Constitutional Court ordered the 43 year old former MFP leader to cease his duties as an MP from July 19 last year until a court decision is ruled.

Constitutional Court judges confirmed that there had been no delay to the court ruling. The court stated that opinions expressed by Pita on the case in various media outlets are considered inappropriate as they interfere with court decisions, whether positive or negative.

The court found that there was sufficient evidence to make a decision. There was no evidence that Pita transferred the iTV shares. It was considered that Pita held the shares on the date the MFP submitted its list of names for MP membership, reported KhaoSod.

From investigation, it was decided that iTV has not been legally entitled to operate a television business since March 7, 2007, but has maintained the status quo only to pursue legal action in court. In addition, it does not appear that the company generated profit from media operations. However, there is income from investment and government interest.

From the time the Prime Minister’s Office terminated the contract until now, iTV did not operate a mass media business. Furthermore, there is no evidence of a licence to register for printing and operating a television business. Therefore, it was ruled that iTV did not operate any newspaper or media business on the date Pita applied for MP membership.

The former MFP leader’s shareholding therefore did not cause him to be prohibited from applying for membership in the House of Representatives, according to Article 98(3) of the Constitution.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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