Drafters threaten legal action against critics of new charter

The head of the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has threatened legal action to quell criticism of the new draft constitution.  

Thai News Agency on Monday, 8 February 2016, reported that Meechai Ruchuphan, President of the CDC, said that the CDC will meet to discuss possible legal action against people who distort facts to criticise the 2016 charter draft.

He made particular mention of an anti-junta Facebook page ‘Yut Datjarit Prathet Thai’ (Stop Fake Thailand), saying a certain political party is behind the page.  

Meechai added that the CDC proposal on possible legal measures against those distorting facts about the draft will be sent to the cabinet for consideration.

On the same day, the administrators of the Facebook page posted a statement in response to Meechai, saying that they are not afraid and that they apologise if the infographic about the draft charter on the page disheartened the CDC.

The Facebook page administrator added that they ‘overestimated’ the CDC.  

Earlier this month, Thanit Sriprathet, a senior expert at the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT), announced that people will be allowed to express their approval or disapproval of the latest draft constitution via a public referendum.

He said then that people can publicly express their opinions about the draft constructively. However, he added that those who distort information about the draft, use rude language to criticise it, or incite people to oppose the draft might face penalties.

Thanit added that the ECT cannot set penalties against opponents of the draft who distort facts about it, but the Commission had already submitted a proposal for the government to enact a law about it.

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