ECT files defamation charge against Voice TV host

The Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) has filed defamation charges against Voice TV host Sirote Klampaiboon and activist Nuttaa Mahattana, most likely for Voice TV’s broadcasting on the election day.

Sirote Klampaiboon (left) and Nuttaa Mahattana (right)

Sirote Klampaiboon posted on his Facebook page this morning (5 April) that he had received a summons to face a defamation charge filed by the ECT. The summons names the accused as “Sirote Klampaiboon and others” and ordered activist Nutta Mahattana to report to Thung Song Hong Police Station at 10.30 on Thursday (11 April).

‘I’m still confused about how I defamed the ECT. If it’s about expressing my own opinion, I’m very confident that when I talked about the ECT, I said that we need to separate “defects”, “mistakes”, “lack of transparency” and “dishonesty”. I have also always insisted that most people’s criticism of the ECT is about “defects,” which concern the on-site performance of duty at most, not about the Commission, and even less about anyone making accusations of “cheating”,’ Sirote posted on his Facebook page.

‘If I am accused because of doing my job as a TV host, my job is to invite guests to express their opinions, so I don’t understand exactly why that’s wrong. But on principle, I think it’s not appropriate for the ECT, as a state agency, to be filing charges against citizens, especially not a charge that could result in a 2-year prison term, regardless of who is being sued.’

Meanwhile, Nuttaa also posted on her Facebook page that police officers delivered the summons to her house at 6.00 in the morning, and said that she will report to Thung Song Hong Police Station as required by the summons.

‘This morning around 6:00, 9 police officers came to deliver my fifth summons. This time the accuser is the ECT, and Sirote Klampaiboon is my co-accused, meaning that this is a result of my performing my media duty on the election day,’ Nuttaa said. ‘I’m confident that I certainly didn’t defame anyone. What I did that day was to inform the people about the election rules, and report the misunderstanding by officials of the rules especially about photographing, which affects the effectiveness of the work of election observers. I insist that, when officials have several incorrect understandings, it is a reflection of the effectiveness of the work of the ECT.’

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