Fake copies of new charter being distributed, says CDC

Fake copies of new charter being distributed, says CDC

Copies of the draft charter were printed and distributed in Pathum Thani province in May. The Constitution Drafting Committee has complained opponents have printed and distributed a fake book, with the same cover, with rewritten and misleading text. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Copies of the draft charter were printed and distributed in Pathum Thani province in May. The Constitution Drafting Committee has complained opponents have printed and distributed a fake book, with the same cover, with rewritten and misleading text. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

An organised and well-financed group is trying to mislead people about the draft charter and stop teachers from explaining it, ahead of the constitution referendum on Aug 7, the constitution writers claimed on Thursday.

Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, said his panel found copies of a document bound with the same cover as the CDC's book on the draft charter - but with content that had been changed and was misleading.

"It is believed there is an organised movement behind this, because I earlier got such a document when I gave a lecture at the (Bangkok) government complex, and I came across it again in Chiang Mai.

"So I believe many copies were printed. Students are incapable of doing this alone. There may be a fund supporting it," Mr Meechai said. He did not name any source of funding or group.

The issue would be raised with the National Council for Peace and Order and the Election Commission, with the aim of finding out the source of the fake copies and the extent of their distribution, he said.

CDC spokesman Amorn Wanichwiwatana said earlier that about 100 copies of the fake book were discovered at the committee's forum on the charter in Chiang Mai province on Monday.

CDC spokesman Chartchai na Chiangmai said on Thursday that teachers were reluctant to explain the draft charter to local people. He thought this was because opponents of the draft charter were applying pressure on them in some areas.

Teachers were afraid of being accused of violating the referendum law by influencing voters, but should by now be aware the law protected them in their duty to present the charter's content to the people,  Mr Chartchai said.

The referendum law sets out punishment of up to 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 200,000 baht for violations. 

Mr Chartchai also said that real copies of the book on the draft charter were slowly being distributed to the people. The CDC had also produced a new, concise version explaining the benefits of the provisions in the draft constitution

Mr Meechai explained the benefits of the charter, from his committee's  point of view, in a live broadcast from the Public Health Ministry to public health offices nationwide on Thursday.

He told health officials that the proposed charter would solve national problems systematically when it came to issues of the people's liberty, inequality, political dishonesty, corruption, education and law enforcement.

He also denied the rumour spreading on social media that the 30-baht medical treatment scheme had been excluded from the charter. This was not the case, he said.

The draft ensured that health care money would be spent efficiently and for the direct benefit of the people, Mr Meechai said.


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