Thanapol Eawsakul (Source: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)

Same Sky magazine co-founder sued for defamation by a major energy company

Thanapol Eawsakul, a co-founder of Same Sky, a book publisher well known for producing titles about Thai political history and the monarchy has been sued by Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (GULF) over a Facebook post shared from an MP who has also been sued by the company.

Thanapol at a book warehouse.

According to Thanapol’s post on 21 December, the lawsuit stems from a post by Rangsiman Rome that he shared on 7 November. Rangsiman, an MP from the Move Forward Party (MFP), said that the company had sued him and the party for a no-confidence motion questioning the influence of Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), in the energy company’s dramatic growth.

In the post, Thanapong added the comment “Before Sarath Ratanavadi (GULF CEO) and the GULF company take over Thailand, they must eliminate the Move Forward Party from the pages of Thai politics.”

The company demanded that Thanapol pay 50 million baht compensation with 5 percent interest, publish the full version of the court’s ruling in 15 newspapers, both online and offline, delete the post and pay court costs.

According to its website, GULF is a holding company that invests in power generation, gas, renewable energy, hydropower and infrastructure and utilities businesses. It is also the kingdom’s largest private gas-fired and renewable power producer for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand or (EGAT) and private clients.

Prior to Thanapol’s case, GULF sued Rangsiman and the MFP over the no-confidence motion by Rangsiman on 3 September, against the MDES Minister who was a former GULF Assistant Managing Director, over the company’s success in becoming the majority shareholder of Intouch Holdings which has become the major shareholder of Thaicom, a Thai-based satellite operator that operates Thaicom satellites.

In the MFP’s case, the company filed criminal defamation charges for publishing the content of the motion. Rangsiman was sued for defamation for publishing the content of the motion, and asked to pay 100 million baht compensation.

Same Sky Books (fa diao kan) is a publishing house which produces content-heavy books of criticism, especially on Thai political history and the monarchy.

The publishing house mainly produced journals before it started publishing academic books. Its first journal was launched in 2003. The founders were Thanapol Eawsakul, Chaithawat Tulathon and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who formed a partnership to realise their dream of giving society a journal similar to the Social Science Review.

Beside publishing books, Same Sky operated a web board that was well known as a place to exchange ideas about the monarchy in the 2000s.

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