Suchart to take legal action after losing his artist title

Former national artist Suchart Sawadsri (Bangkok Post file photo)

The former national artist Suchart Sawadsri says he will take legal action against the National Culture Commission for revoking his title.

Suchart wrote on Facebook that he cannot accept the "corruption" of the commission, which he said has no right to revoke his title as national artist. He has hired a lawyer to take legal action.

The commission, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, and Culture Minister Itthipol Khunplome, amended a ministry regulation to enable revocation of the title. Critics say it was spurred to act by Suchart's case after he attacked the government.

Suchart said he did not care about his title but he suspected the commission had acted improperly. The move had damaged his reputation and was designed to humiliate, he said.

He said he took part in the founding of the national artist award in 1984 and he had assisted a literary sub-commission in 1990-1992 when the Culture Ministry was not yet established but was just an office of the Education Ministry.

Mr Wissanu said the commission voted to revoke Suchart's title under appropriate laws and ministry regulations, but he has the right to appeal for one month.

Critics have attacked the comission's decision, saying the government was punishing Suchart for his views backing the student protesters, who have called on the prime minister to resign.

Mr Wissanu said national artists can express political opinions but Suchart went further than that, circulating his opinions opposing the government on many social media channels.

No national artist had lost his award before, but all must display good behaviour as a condition of keeping the award, he said.

If the conditions change, however, the title may be put at risk, he said.

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