[Update] Thai junta summons newspaper cartoonist for talk

The Thai junta has summoned a renowned cartoonist from Thairath, the biggest circulation newspaper in Thailand, for ‘attitude adjustment’, saying that he distorted facts about the regime.  

The junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) summoned Sakda Sae-eaw, known by his penname of Sia, a cartoonist whose column is on Thairath page 3, to report to the Royal Thai Army Headquarters in Bangkok at 10 am on Sunday, 4 October 2015.

According to the BBC Thai Service, Sakda complied with the order and went to the Army Headquarters at 10 am along with Suntorn Thasai, the advertising editor of Thairath. The two were held briefly for a discussion with military personnel who did not reveal their identities.

Sakda told BBC Thai that the officers told him that his cartoons distorted facts about the NCPO and might affect national security.

“The NCPO thinks that the cartoons which I published distorted certain facts because of a lack of information, so they summoned [me] for attitude adjustment to create better understanding about the NCPO,” BBC quoted Sakda as saying. “This is the first time that [the NCPO] directly commented that my work distorted facts, but I confirmed that I simply published work in accordance with the news that appeared in Thairath.”

He mentioned that although his cartoons have to go through editorial procedures before publication, he has to be more careful from now on.

Sakda added that even though the NCPO did not force him to sign any documents during the talks, the officers informed him that that the NCPO has a committee which monitors and screens information.

“I’m not that worried. I’m a member of the press and things which I published were based on facts and were well intended,” said the cartoonist from Thairath.

In the aftermath of the 2014 coup d’état, Sakda was one of many media people who were summoned together for two weeks of reconciliation activities organised by the coup-makers. However, this is the first time that he has been summoned individually by the regime.