11 July 2024

The simmering war of words between two female MPs, Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika Wanich and Palang Pracharat MP Pareena Kraikupt, has erupted into a legal battle, with both filing defamation charges against each other.

Ms. Pannika filed a libel lawsuit with the Criminal Court this morning, accusing Ms. Pareena of implicating her and her party leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, via social media of involvement in bombing incidents in Bangkok and Nonthaburi last week and with the unrest in the restive southernmost provinces.

She said that she had kept Ms. Pareena’s allegedly defamatory Facebook posts and images, even though the original post has been amended several times since.  She added that the Palang Pracharat MP also accused her of providing moral support to families of the two suspected bombers during her visit to Narathiwat province.

Ms. Pannika disclosed that the party’s legal advisors had suggested she file charges of violating the computer crime law against Ms. Pareena as well, but the party disagreed because the party opposes the law as it breaches freedom of expression rights.

She further said that her legal action against Ms. Pareena is not intended to seek compensation or a jail term for the defendant, but merely to demonstrate to Thai society that fake news, which causes damage to the other people, is illegal and liable to litigation.

Meanwhile, Ms. Pareena filed a complaint with Lumpini police, accusing Ms. Pannika of defaming her.  She claimed that the Future Forward spokeswoman called a news conference and made statements to the media which caused damage to her reputation.

Asked why she referred to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in her Facebook post when talking about the bombing incidents in Bangkok, implicating him with possible involvement in the violence, she explained that the name of Thaksin just popped out in her mind instinctively because he is not a good man.

Asked if she was afraid of being sued by Thaksin, she said that the ex-premier would need to return to Thailand to pursue the lawsuit against her.