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Thai court orders opposition leader to take down videos criticising Covid-19 vaccine plan

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Thai PBS

Thailand’s Criminal Court is ordering one of the government’s biggest critics to take down videos on YouTube and Facebook where he says the government’s Covid-19 vaccine plan lacks transparency and unfairly favours a company owned by HM the King.

The government is also accusing Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, founder of the Progressive Movement, of violating the draconian lèse majesté law which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison for insulting the Thai Monarchy.

The company Siam Bioscience, set to locally manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine for distribution across Southeast Asia, is owned by HM the King Maha Vajiralongkorn. The company received a 600 million baht subsidy for the operation and plans to deliver the first batch of 61 million doses by June.

Siam Bioscience lacks experience in manufacturing vaccines, according to Thanathorn. In videos on YouTube and Facebook, he calls out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, saying the government has not been open in its decision to choose Siam Bioscience to produce the vaccine locally.

Thanathorn’s statements could breach national security, according to the Digital Ministry. But Thanathorn says the videos are legal. He and others in the Progressive Movement urged YouTube and Facebook to keep the videos up to allow freedom of speech.

Thanathorn was also the leader of the now-disbanded Future Forward Party. He’s banned from politics for 10 years over loans he made to the party.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Manu

    Monday, February 1, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Business as usual…

  2. Avatar

    Suua

    Monday, February 1, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Well done K.Thanathorn…..please keep exposing these corrupt old fools for their wrongs against Thai society.
    The doctors and nurses could have been vaccinated already if they had taken the offer from India.
    Criminal to jeopardise front line workers in this totally unnecessary blunder.
    I sincerely hope ALL the Thai population are aware of this.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, February 1, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      It’s part of the censure debate due soon, so if they follow the news or social media they will be.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, February 1, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    This is how dictators operate.
    They do not allow criticism. They do not want their population to know what they do wrong.
    What is worse in this particular matter, is the fraud that the Thai government claim they are democratic.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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