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Cover photo: from King Protection Group FB page

A group of organizations claiming to protect the monarchy has filed a complaint against Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader and PM candidate of the Move Forward Party (MFP), under the royal defamation law and the Computer-Related Crime Act, alleging that his interview with BBC has affected the country’s highest institution.

On 7 June 2023, the King Protection Group Facebook page posted a message stating that representatives of ‘royal protection’ organizations met with the Report Centre, Technology Crime Suppression Division, to submit a complaint, seeking legal action against Pita for his interview with BBC on 30 May 2023.

The complainants were requested to provide additional testimony before the complaint is processed further.

Songchai Niamhom, one of the complainants, clarified that the complaint was not driven by personal bias against Pita and that Pita is free to do whatever he wants as long as it does not harm the monarchy.

"In the future, you becoming the Prime Minister means nothing to me. I ask you to do your duty as prime minister, but any day you harm or have ideas against the main institution of the nation, I will continue to file complaints against you through legal channels," said Songchai.

On 30 May 2023, Pita gave an interview to Jonathan Head, Southeast Asia correspondent for BBC News, about post-election matters, including the MFP’s policy to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the so-called royal defamation law. There has been resistance to this, and dissenting senators could use this issue to block him from forming a government. Head asked Pita why not just drop it for now.

In response, Pita stated that it is a policy the party has promised to the people, and in the recent election, the party received up to 14 million votes from the people.

“We have enough mandate. We have the vote from 14 million people, and they understood. It was clear. It was transparent that this is one of the things that we want to push,” said Pita.

When the interview was aired on BBC News, it was censored by TrueVisions.  

Head himself was investigated In 2008 for a possible charge of lèse majesté by a police colonel, Watanasak Mungkijakarndee, who claimed that Head's reporting between 2006 and 2008 had "damaged and insulted the monarchy".  No charges were brought.

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