BANGKOK — The government on Tuesday said it has filed a cybercrime complaint against an opposition politician for posting a photoshopped image of Prime Minister’s Children’s Day slogan.
Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta accused Future Forward Party spokeswoman Pannika Wanich of disseminating false information after she posted the image, which has been edited to add a message calling for anti-government rally on Saturday.
“The Prime Minister’s Office legal officials filed the complaint to police on Monday,” Buddhipongse said. “Our investigators believed that Pannika is the first person to share the doctored slogan. If it’s true, she would be charged under the Computer Crime Act.”
Pannika on Friday posted a photo of next year’s Children’s Day slogan authored by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
“New generation of Thai kids are united and informed of their responsibilities,” the slogan read.
But below the original message, a red text which says “and don’t forget to go to the Skywalk tomorrow” was added, referring to the elevated walkway above Pathumwan Intersection which was used as the venue for Saturday’s rally.
— Pannika Wanich (@Pannika_FWP) December 13, 2019
The gathering was staged to protest perceived injustice against party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
Responding to the accusation of spreading false information, Pannika said her post was just a mockery, and suggested that the government should have more sense of humor.
“I believe that everyone who has seen that post would know that it’s just a derision,” she said at a news conference. “I suggest the Prime Minister’s Office and the digital economy ministry should have more sense of humor and devote their energy into combating fake news rather that this political nonsense.”
She did not say whether she edited the photo herself.
If found guilty, Pannika faces up to five years in prison.
Thanathorn’s call for a mass anti-government protest on Saturday has been met with actual and threats of legal repercussions from the authorities and pro-government politicians in recent days.
Sonthiya Sawasdi from Phalang Pracharath Party on Monday accused Thanathorn of disrespecting the monarchy, while the police reportedly filed criminal charges against him for organizing an unauthorized protest.
In a related development, digital economy minister Buddhipongse said the authorities are also preparing to file another cybercrime complaint against an opposition politician who falsely claimed that the government has raised taxes for sanitary pads.
Puea Chart Party spokeswoman Ketpreeya Kaewsanmuang wrote on Monday that Prayuth placed menstrual pads and tampons under luxury items taxing scheme, although no information existed to back up her claim.
The Revenue Department also said the products are only subject to VAT like other goods.