Actress Presses Charges Over 'Anti-Royal' Photo Distortion

Photo of Intira Charoenpura with Her Majesty the Queen and other actors.

BANGKOK — A prominent actress has sought help from police after a pro-monarchy Facebook page falsely accused her of insulting Her Majesty the Queen.

Intira Charoenpura, 33, says that the caption of a photo in which she posed with Her Majesty the Queen on a movie set was altered and circulated among pro-monarchy Facebook pages.

The altered version of the caption — which cannot be republished here for legal reasons — implies that Ms. Intira was pleased to have fooled Her Majesty the Queen into taking a photo with her even though she is an anti-monarchy activist.

The photo's original caption read: "Now that the film is almost in the cinema, it reminds me of the time when I had the opportunity to be granted such as close audience with Her Majesty. It was a great blessing to the humble life of this actress."

Ms. Intira has frequently spoken out in support of freedom of speech and criticised Thailand's lese majeste (insult of monarchy) laws. The famous actress is widely seen by royalists as a sympathiser of the previous government, which was also accused of harbouring an anti-monarchy agenda by many of its opponents. 

Ms. Intira told police today that the caption's distortion has put her at grave risk amid  the ongoing political crisis, especially after the army seized power from the government in a coup d’état on 22 May and announced a zero tolerance policy for those accused of lese majeste.

Under Thai laws, lese majeste is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

"In the past I have been subject to photo-shopping and accusations many times on  social media, but I tried not to think too much about it," Ms. Intira told reporters." This time, I feel that it has stepped over the line, and I am afraid other actors [in the photo] will be affected as well."

Police say they have accepted Ms. Intira's complaint under the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, which criminalizes dissemination of false information on the internet.

In March, the ultra-royalist newspaper Manager ASTV printed a satire piece featuring a mock interview with Ms. Intira in which she changed her surname to "Shinawatra" in support of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The piece also had her urging the Mr. Thaksin to form a new country by leading a secession in the North. 

The piece later became popular among pro-monarchy Thais, many of whom failed to realise that it was a satire.