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Sondhi Limthongkul is suing Prachatai and its editor-in-chief for defamation, alleging that Prachatai distorted his words, leading its readers to misunderstand that he supported a coup.  He stated that coups are not legitimate and he has never endorsed one.

On 22 August 2023, Prachatais editorial team at the Foundation for Community Educational Media (FCEM) received a summons relating to a defamation case filed by Sondhi Limthongkul, former leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy and founder of ASTV media group. The lawsuit targeted both FCEM and Prachatais editor-in-chief, Tewarit Maneechai.

The defamation charge stems from an alleged misrepresentation of Sondhi’s views, implying that he supports a coup. The court has scheduled a preliminary hearing for 30 October 2023.

According to the indictment, Sondhis opinions and picture were published by the defendants along with the headlineSondhi analyses 13 challenging games of the Move Forward Party, says coup is last resort.’

Sondhi claims that the crucial part of his message -the last resort of the game is an illegitimate coup - was omitted.  He says this significantly changed his intended meaning and amounts to disseminating false information.

He contends that this led the general public and his followers to misunderstand that he supports a coup, an act that violates national security laws and carries severe punishment. He also states that he has never advocated for a coup and was merely analysing the current situation.

On 4 August 2023, Manager Online reported that its founder, Sondhi, felt that several media outlets had distorted his message.

He claims that The Standard, Prachatai, Tnews, and Dailynews Online, all edited his views, excluding the word “illegitimate” causing misunderstandings that he supports a coup. He also announced plans to sue all four news outlets.

I will definitely sue … be prepared to receive a summons,” Sondhi said.

Subsequently, The Standard, Dailynews Online, and Tnews, deleted the news from their websites and issued apology statements.

Sondhi is a founder of the royalist Yellow Shirt” movement.  Its protest in 2005 and 2006 helped to trigger a 2006 military coup which forced former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra out of office.  Yellow Shirt protest in 2013 and 2014 also set the stage for a 2014 coup which ended the government of Thaksin’s sister, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. 

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