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Future Forward asks EC to ban 'distorted' image

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his MP candidates in Pattani province on March 2. (Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit Facebook)

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The Future Forward Party has asked the Election Commission to look into an image made by a TV station that shows its party leader with Thaksin Shinawatra on an LED screen near a fountain roundabout in Hat Yai, Songkhla province.

Deputy party leader Kunthida Rungruengkiat submitted the letter asking the EC to investigate whether the display violates the election law.

“If it does, we ask the EC to remove that image as we view it a distortion from the truth and a hate speech,” she said.

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She added the EC had earlier ordered the removal of 3-4 posts on social media it deemed hate speech against the party such as those which accused the party of involving in “burning the city” and was a threat to security.

“Whether we will take legal action depends on the EC. We’d like the EC to set the standard,” she said.

Future Forward has been battling the accusation it will bring the fugitive former prime minister home after media under the News Network group reported the news over the weekend. They quoted a video interview with Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit by the Bangkok Post on Feb 24 and published on the Bangkok Post website on March 3.

News Network is owned by investor Chai Bunnag, whose wife, Watanya Wongopasi, runs in the March 24 election under the Palang Prachararth banner.

The reports drew a barrage of criticism from Thaksin haters. A judge even warned Mr Thanathorn could be held in contempt of court for questioning the impartiality of the court that decided Thaksin’s cases.

Mr Thanathorn wrote on Facebook on Saturday he did not make a proposal to bring the former prime minister home.

“I only suggested if we want reconciliation amid intense polarisation over the last 10 years, the only way is for leaders of all sides and colours, including those who used power to violate people’s rights, to be brought to account -- there must be no impunity. They must enter a judicial process that is free and fair. Whatever the outcomes, all sides must accept them.

“Some media outlets distorted what I told Dave Kendall of the Bangkok Post by taking some part out of context to make people think I would just ‘bring Thaksin home’.

“Only through the courage to confront the truths of the past and an undistorted judicial process can Thai society get out of the dark hole of conflicts and move forward,” he wrote.

Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 before the court for politicians ruled him guilty of conflict of interest when he allowed his wife to join an auction of state land. He was sentenced to two years in prison and the statute of limitations of the case expired last year. He is still facing other charges after new laws allow trial in absentia.

To Thaksin’s supporters and some academics, the cases against him were taken up only after the 2006 military coup and a special panel consisting mainly of his critics were set up to file charges against him. 

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