According to Khaosod English (KE) News Chief Teeranai Charuvastra, the Charoen Pokphand (CP) group urged the outlet to delete its coverage of the cancellation of a marketing discount campaign on 12-15 February, claiming it was a sensitive issue.
A photo of headline of the deleted news piece from Khaosod English.
The deleted piece was published on 16 February under the headline “CP cancels ‘LOVE112’ promotional campaign after backlash”.
Teeranai said he was notified by his editor that CP had contacted them, urging them to delete the news item, which the editor agreed to. A CP public relations officer also called Teeranai directly asking the same thing, claiming it was a sensitive issue.
Teeranai said he contacted CP and CPF (Charoen Pokphand Food PCL) on 16 February in the late morning but received no explanation until the time he received the request to delete the article.
The KE News Chief added that he, personally, was confused and surprised because he had previously received cooperation from CP and CPF when asking for explanations. For example, when Khaosod found that the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority deleted a visit to a 7-11, a franchise grocery owned by CP, from a Covid-19 patient’s timeline, CP kindly gave an explanation after he contacted them.
On 17 and 18 Februacy, before publishing this article in Thai, Prachatai contacted CP’s Office of Corporate Communications Affairs, but received no response.
An internet search shows that no news outlet beside KE published the news about CP’s promotion cancellation.
The campaign, launched by CP Freshmart, a convenience store business owned by the CP group, offered a 112 baht discount for online purchases worth at least 666 baht from 12 to 15 February.
Some internet users linked the discount code to Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes people who defame or express hostility to the king, queen, heir and regent. Some of them expressed disagreement while some rallied for a boycott of CP products or shops, using the hashtag #แบนซีพี (Ban CP) or #แบนcp (Ban CP) on Twitter.
ของจริงรึ? Bad taste ไปนะ pic.twitter.com/LBY9hTy3XB
— John Winyu (@johnwinyu) February 14, 2021
The tweet reads "Is this real thing? Too much bad taste,"
— หมายอกี๋ ||| ว่อง (@marik_kikkii) February 14, 2021
The tweet reads "CP deleted it but I save it in time. Know that [you] are loving each other, but [I] don't think they will love each other so much wtf!
The promotion was later removed from CP’s social media platforms.
It should be noted that The Pizza Company, a franchise owned by the Minor Group, ran a similar promotional campaign with the number 112, did not receive the same backlash as CP. (The Pizza Company’s phone number is 1112)
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), at least 59 people are now facing lèse majesté charges for their involvement in the pro-democracy protests.