Pannika says sorry after grad picture triggers hate speech

Pannika says sorry after grad picture triggers hate speech

Pannika: Under NACC investigation.
Pannika: Under NACC investigation.

Future Forward Party (FFP) spokeswoman Pannika Wanich on Wednesday offered an apology to those offended by a controversial Facebook photo of her and her university classmates making an inappropriate gesture to King Rama IX's portraits.

"I apologise once again that that picture has made anyone feel uncomfortable," Ms Pannika told an army of media before a parliamentary meeting.

"I feel uncomfortable too to learn that this particular picture has triggered unconstructive conversations on social media and the use of hatred-induced language." She herself has been the target of strong attacks with one political rival claiming she was no longer welcome in Thailand.

She admitted that when she looked back at the picture, she found it inappropriate herself and agreed to some extent that it could probably cause some to feel uncomfortable, which, however, stems from their own interpretation of the picture.

The photo features her and her friends in graduation gowns in 2010 gesturing toward a picture of the late monarch in a manner deemed to be offensive by some.

Ms Pannika is under investigation after activist Srisuwan Janya asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to probe her over the picture.

Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo, assistant police chief and police spokesman, last week said the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) was reviewing Ms Pannika's social media photos and messages to see if they violated the Computer Crimes Act.

Ms Pannika said she had not been contacted by the police over any complaint lodged against her over the controversial Facebook photo.

She said she is ready to give an explanation towards any accusations associated with the picture. She said she believed she was not the first and the last politician to become a target of political attacks using an allegation of being disrespectful to the monarchy.

The social media furore over the picture had affected not only her but also her parents and friends who weren't prepared and don't deserve to deal with these consequences of her action, she said.

She said many liberals in the pro-democracy camp have been stalled from achieving their hopes and making progress in their careers by this type of allegation.

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