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EC asks NLA to pull song on extra referendum question


THE Election Commission (EC) has asked the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to stop distributing an animated music video presenting a song about its referendum question

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The song was composed by national artist Shinakorn Krailas. It was presented in a video clip made by a television channel early this month to accompany an interview with NLA representatives.
The song conveys messages about the NLA’s additional question for the upcoming referendum, on whether they would agree to have the Senate jointly vote on a prime minister for the transitional period of the next government.
The clip – two minutes and 39 seconds long – has scenes that show ballot papers with “vote yes” being crossed.
After the video circulated among some Line chat groups, concerns were raised over whether the clip would be deemed as likely to influence voters and thus breach the referendum law, which bans influencing voters to vote in particular ways.
NLA Vice President Surachai Liengboonlertchai told The Nation that the video was produced by a TV channel and he had instructed concerned authorities not to post the video on the NLA website.
According to a source at the NLA, the video was created by the channel as part of a TV programme that NLA members participated in on July 4 to explain the additional question. The video was used as a PR campaign to draw audience attention, the source said.
Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said he had viewed the clip and personally believed it was not appropriate, as it shows the ‘Vote yes’ box being crossed twice. This, he said, was deemed to influence people and thus breached the referendum law.
So, he asked the NLA to remove the video clip and adjust it before releasing it to the public.
The NLA was also a bureaucratic organ and could be criticised for being biased for being involved in this, Somchai said. If it insisted that it had nothing to do with this, the EC would probe to see whether or not members of the Assembly were really not involved.

Published : July 20, 2016

By : Prapasri Osathanon, Chanikarn