NBT news on Somsak Jeamteerasakul

The UDD’s moves which ‘threaten, offend and violate’ the monarchy result from the ‘Lom Chao’ (overthrow the monarchy) movement which has been widely spreading its influence and dominating the core leaders, said a presenter of a news programme on the government-owned National Broadcasting Services of Thailand on 2 May.

The programme, ‘Dig Hot News, Delve Deep’ (เจาะข่าวร้อน ล้วงข่าวลึก), showed clips of UDD leaders Jatuporn Phrompan and Natthawut Saikua delivering their controversial speeches. 

The female presenter, Jitti Sridi, said that while the UDD were ‘falling into a trap’ set by the Lom Chao movement, a movement had appeared of a group of academics who claimed the right under the democratic system and the constitution to criticize the institution to the point of damaging it.  This has to be kept under watch to see whether or not it is connected to the Lom Chao movement which has infiltrated the UDD.

Then there was a clip of Somsak Jeamteerasakul who said at a press conference on 24 April that public debates about the institution should be allowed and that he had never suggested the idea of Lom Chao.

Despite his claims, his criticisms ‘bordered on being offensive’, which could lead people to have negative thoughts about the institution, she said.

The programme presented Somsak’s 8-point proposals for the reform of the monarchy, which he had posted on the internet months before.

It gave a brief background of Somsak as a former student activist during the 6 Oct 1976 massacre and an academic who published his works on websites including Midnight University, Fah Diew Kan and Prachatai as well as red-shirt websites, and joined UDD rallies.

An investigation by the news agency found that most of Somsak’s work focussed on criticisms of historical events concerning the monarchy.  All this was from a perspective of analysis and interpretation that risks damaging the institution, the presenter said.

In another clip, Somsak said that, ‘the monarchy can be sensitive to political changes.  For example, when it saw that the Thanom-Prapas regime could not survive, the institution adapted, although it had long had a close relationship with the Sarit-Thanom-Prapas system’.

According to the programme, an open and significant move to damage the institution appeared in concrete form on 10 Dec last year when Somsak joined Chulalongkorn lecturer Suthachai Yimprasert, who was described as ‘an obvious anti-monarchy activist’, and Thammasat law lecturer Worachet Phakirat in organizing a public forum on the institution, the constitution and democracy, which was a historical issue that ‘might lead to a misunderstanding that the monarchy has descended into involvement in politics.’

Somsak’s 8-point proposal has been taken up by red shirts, as clearly seen in the activities calling for repeal of Article 112, it said.

The programme raised a debate on the internet between Somsak and another user as an example showing his anti-monarchy stance.  Skybird argued with Somsak that, ‘National catastrophe has never resulted from the institution.  Each and every incident has been brought about by politicians.  His Majesty lives in his palace everyday.  All chaos is the work of politicians.  The cheating and corruption of politicians has brought the country to the brink of collapse.  But in many cases, it has often been stopped by the institution pointing the way out.’

In response, Somsak made a challenge that Article 8 of the Constitution and Article 112 of the Criminal Code should be revoked first so that he could provide his information and reasons.

The programme said that Somsak had made the challenge in order to bring up attacks concerning several historical events.

The fact that Somsak refuted the ideas of Skybird clearly shows what his ideology is regarding the monarchy, it said.

Somsak Jeamteeraskul’s 8-point proposal for the reform of the monarchy

1. Repeal Section 8 of the Constitution, [which says the King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated and no person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.]
2. Repeal Section 112 of the Criminal Code
3. Abolish the Privy Council
4. Repeal the 1948 Crown Assets Management Act
5. Ban all one-sided public relations and education about the monarchy
6. Revoke the royal prerogative in expressing political opinions
7. Revoke the royal prerogative in all royal projects
8. Ban all donations for use at the royal discretion

23 January 2010




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