Think of the poor kid Withawat Thaokhamlue now having to withdraw from the rather awful Academy Fantasia television talent show. He criticized and damned Abhisit Vejjajiva on his Facebook page. He was then attacked by the yellow shirts, the media and others for it. Okay, he might have used some swear words, but many are frustrated. He’s then accused of attacking the monarchy – the redoubt of the political right in Thailand. Now he’s out of the show.
The lesson is that criticizing any of the higher-ups is likely to get you in deep brown stuff. Even the prime minister is now held to be above criticism by the plebs.
The horrid yellows argued for the kid’s “immediate expulsion from the show, insisting that while Withawat enjoys the right to free speech, his use of abusive language on a web page open to the public is intolerable and sets a bad example.” Oh dear, he expressed himself profanely.
More startlingly, the government’s political bully boys at the Department of Special Investigation and boss Tharit Pengdit “said investigators will look into Withawat’s alleged anti-monarchy comments…. Tharit heads a working group investigating lese majeste cases.”
PPT wonders if we should add the kid to our page of pending cases. Sadly, we probably will.
Update 1: AP has a story on this case. It says that the “hip-looking 17-year-old student, suggested on Facebook that protesters might not have set buildings on fire if the prime minister had dissolved parliament and called an election, as the demonstrators demanded. Government supporters attacked Witthawat, and many viewers expressed their disapproval. Many on the anti-government side became his fans. The whole affair received widespread media coverage.”
Free media advocate Supinya Klangnarong is cited: “More battles here and there — in the entertainment industry, in politics, in schools, in universities or even in homes — will be occurring, I think, throughout the country.”
AP adds: “Last Saturday, as the scandal peaked, Witthawat’s parents asked the show’s producer not to have their son perform on stage, saying they didn’t want him to be in the middle of any conflict. He still managed to get the most votes, apparently drawing support from both fans and political sympathizers.”
Lese majeste isn’t covered.
PPT has added a page to pending cases, until we hear that the Gestapo-like DSI has dropped the silly and spiteful lese majeste investigation.