Activist: 'Prayut as democracy hero' book a lie

Activist: 'Prayut as democracy hero' book a lie

Pulp it or be sued, growls Srisuwan

Firebrand activist Srisuwan Janya has vowed to sue the Fine Arts Department if it fails to recalls a book called the History of Thailand, which depicts coup maker and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as a patron of democracy.

"The content of the book is misleading and it will lead to the distortion of the country's history if the department leaves it just like that," said Mr Srisuwan, referring to the book, published by the department since 2015. Perceived as an instrument to encourage patriotism and reconciliation, Gen Prayut last November ordered the authority to deliver 100 copies to each of the 77 provinces in Thailand.

Mr Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Thai Constitution Protection Association, wrote to the department's director-general and the prime minister in protest. "If they are not destroyed, these books will end up in public and school libraries. The misinformation will seep into the minds of students. I cannot let that happen because the reality has been so different. The prime minister has not restored democracy nor brought the end to corruption as portrayed in the book," Mr Srisuwan told the Bangkok Post.

On page 197, the book reads: "After the coup d'etat, Gen Prayut became prime minister. He has tried to develop the country and reform Thai politics into a real democracy. Gen Prayut has used moral principles and stamped out corruption to return democracy to the country." The book has judgemental views on political parties. In a section on politics, it explicitly links populism under former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra with corruption, for instance.

Mr Srisuwan said he would give the authority another 90 days to recall the books and have them destroyed. If his request were not met, he would sue the authority for dereliction of duty.

In another development, the Ministry of Culture Wednesday announced the names of 70 films which it says were the best movies produced under the reign of the late King Rama IX. These movies were handpicked from 4,500 films being produced and screened during the reign lasting 70 years and 127 days of the late His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. The committee screening the list comprised 258 personnel from the film industry. The project was initiated by the government.

"Some might be blockbusters while others might be art movies that won awards or they might be films that inspired audiences," Cultural Minister Veera Rojpojnarat said Wednesday. The list of films is eclectic and includes Santi Veena, (1954) a classic love story, Uncle Boonmee, an art film that won the Cannes Palme d'Or award in 2010, blockbuster Phi Mak Prakhanong (2013), and the patriotic film Legend of King Naresuan, the Great (2007).

Ten movies from the list would be screened at the Scala movie theatre next week, during April 24-27.

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