Singers, rapper accused for addressing government, monarchy in songs

4 famous pop singers have been accused under the Computer Crimes Act for altering a song to satirise the government, while in a separate case, P9D, a rapper, has been accused over a song that mentions the institution of monarchy.

From left to right: P9D, Thanakrit Panitchwit, Pramote Pathan, Pongkool Suebsung, Pongsak Rattanapong

On 27 September, Sontiya Sawasdee, a former advisor to the House of Representatives Committee of Law, Justice, and Human Rights and former Palang Pracharath Party MP candidate, filed a complaint against pop singers Pramote Pathan (Oat Pramote), Pongkool Suebsung (Pop Pongkool), Pongsak Rattanapong (Aof Pongsak), and Thanakrit Panitchwit (Wan Thanakrit), over their performance at a concert, Thairath reported.

The complaint stems from their performance at a Si Yaek Pak Wan (Sweet Lips Crossroads) concert held on 17 September when the four sang two altered songs, using the melody of existing songs but replacing the lyrics with something that addresses the government and politics.

The complaint was filed at the Cyber Crime Suppression Division, accusing the four of a performance with content that was sarcastic and insulting, and falsely accusing the government and those who run the country. The content has been uploaded to the internet by the four and by other netizens. 

Sontiya claims that they violated Sections 14 and 15 of the Computer Crimes Act by uploading and/or supporting the upload of false computer information.

Examples given by Sontiya to support his allegations are the words “our country is about to break”, “the rich are all interesting under the Prayut era”, “dictator government”, “create a huge debt”, “not working” (referring to the government), “not returning the watches”, “leader still not awake”, “8 years is meaningless”, and “love to distribute money like I’m a beggar.”

According to Thairath, the investigator has received Sontiya’s petition and will have superior officers consider the issue.

Sontiya is a person of note when it comes to filing complaints against entertainers who criticise the monarchy or government. He has filed complaints against the actress Inthira Charoenpura and other pro-democracy protesters.

He was also the one who filed a petition with the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau to keep celebrities in check when they addressed the Covid-19 situation and the emergency decree. 

On the same day, Songchai Niamhom, the head and founder of the King Protection Group, a pro-monarchy loyalist group, filed a complaint at Cha-uat Police Station in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province against rapper Kitti Ruangphunglhuang, also known as P9D, according to the group’s Facebook post.

He accused P9D over a song he wrote which he claimed has content that may be deemed an expression of hostility against King Vajiralongkorn. The police received the petition and said the case would be submitted to superior officers.

Rappers are among many entertainers who have included references to politics or police brutality in their music following the police use of force against protesters since 2020, for example, the lyrics and music video of YOUNGOHM’s Bangkok Legacy

Rap Against Dictatorship, a rapper band, has been spearheading criticism of the dictatorship since before the youth movement in 2020. Their song Prathet Ku Mi (My Country Has It), posted on YouTube in October 2018, has over 107 million views. In July 2022, their song Patirup (Reform) was geo-blocked on YouTube following a petition to the courts which ruled that the song was full of obscene language.

The 4.45 minute song criticises the government and authorities for prosecuting and using force against the pro-democracy protesters; condemns elite misuse of public money for personal pleasure, underlines the illegality of a government formed through a coup, and argues that taxpayer voices must be heard rather than be spent on polygamy.

Rap Against Dictatorship later removed Patirup from all of its platforms.

Note: At 20.54 of 28 September 2022, Prachatai removed P9D song that led to him being accused as there is a problem of verification of information.

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