19-year-old rapper fined for criticizing government on Twitter

19-year-old rapper Danupha Khanatheerakul, known under her stage name Milli, received a fine after she was charged with defamation for posting on her Twitter account criticism of the government.

Danupha Khanatheerakul (centre) arriving at the Nang Loeng Police Station

Danupha received a summons from the Nang Loeng Police Station after she was accused of sharing false information. She reported to the inquiry officer earlier today (22 July).

Her lawyer told reporters after their meeting with the inquiry officer that Danupha was charged with defamation by publication due to messages on her Twitter account criticizing the government, which were deemed to be rude and inappropriate. She received a fine of 2000 baht.

A crowd gathered at the Nang Loeng Police Station, led by activist Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa. While Danupha was meeting with the inquiry officer, Jatupat told reporters that he came to show his support for her to show that expressing one’s opinion is a fundamental right, and that no one should face charges for criticising the government. He also said that it is civic duty to criticize the government in a situation where the parliamentary mechanism, as well as the justice and legislative systems, cannot solve problems.

A group of supporters gathered at the Nang Loeng Police Station

The complaint against Danupha was filed on behalf of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha by Apiwat Kantong, a lawyer in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Apiwat previously filed a complaint under the lèse majesté law and the Computer Crimes Act against Lalita Meesuk, a TikTok user who posted a short video clip criticising the Thai government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, former Palang Pracharath Party MP candidate Sonthiya Sawasdee went to the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau yesterday (21 July) to file a petition to have the police set up a committee to control what celebrities say about the Covid-19 situation which is not accurate and is a violation of the Computer Crimes Act, the Emergency Decree, and the Communicable Diseases Act.

Sonthiya said that he is not pressing charges, but wanted the police to investigate celebrities who spoke out in recent weeks, as he claimed they have been spreading false information.

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