Thai PM sues top cartoonist over harsh statement on social media

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BANGKOK, May 3 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today filed a complaint with the Dusit police, charging newspaper cartoonist Chai Rachawat with libel and defamation. 

Her lawyer said a statement made by Chai Rachawat, the professional name of Somchai Katunyutanan, on a social media network was a blunt criticism, not sincere, and that it caused damage to the female leader.

The lawyer, producing copies of the cartoonist’s statement, told police that Mr Somchai’s behaviour was defamation of a state official, a libel through publicity and a breach of the Computer Act.

A group of 16 Pheu Thai Party female MPs and party members earlier demanded that Mr Somchai apologise to the prime minister for what they called an inappropriate statement on the Facebook social media website.

Mr Somchai, a political cartoonist for Thailand’s highest-circulation newspaper, Thai Rath, is known as a staunch opponent of the government and the Red Shirt activists.

Though the cartoonist’s statement did not name names, it appeared next to the photo of the Thai prime minister posing with her Mongolian counterpart, they said.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Tossaporn Serirak brushed aside a demand by 58 senators that the premier to apologise to the Thai people for making an antagonistic statement against the country during her speech at an international forum in Mongolia.

The prime minister did not create any misunderstanding for she spoke the truth which has been known worldwide, he said, insisting that Ms Yingluck’s speech did not tarnish Thailand’s reputation. (MCOT online news)