Future Forward takes aim at Watanya media shares

Future Forward takes aim at Watanya media shares

EC asked to investigate Palang Pracharath MP over possible links to Nation Multimedia

Palang Pracharath MP Watanya Wongopasi has been targeted by Future Forward MP Pannika Wanich, who says Ms Watanya’s media-shares case is very similar to the one that brought down Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit this week. (Post Today photo)
Palang Pracharath MP Watanya Wongopasi has been targeted by Future Forward MP Pannika Wanich, who says Ms Watanya’s media-shares case is very similar to the one that brought down Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit this week. (Post Today photo)

Future Forward Party MP Pannika Wanich has called on the Election Commission (EC) to look into whether Palang Pracharath Party MP Watanya Wongopasi held shares in a media company when she was registered as a party-list candidate.

The opposition MP’s move comes days after her party leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, was stripped of his MP status by the Constitutional Court for having shares in V-Luck Media Co, when he registered as an MP candidate on Feb 16 for the March 24 election.

Election candidates are prohibited by law from owning shares in media businesses, out of concern that they might use media outlets to attack political rivals. Mr Thanathorn’s now-defunct company published a pair of lifestyle magazines that closed last year.

Ms Pannika had her lawyer submit her petition to the EC on Friday.

She said that although Ms Watanya had transferred shares she once held in Nation Multimedia Group to someone else, the company did not officially report the shareholding changes to the Commerce Ministry’s Department of Business Development (DBD) until September, six months after the election.

Ms Pannika noted that Mr Thanathorn was first suspended and then disqualified as an MP for very similar reasons.

Changes to the register of shareholders of V-Luck Media after Mr Thanathorn transferred his shares were reported to the DBD on March 21, nearly a month after he registered as a candidate.

In Ms Pannika’s view, Ms Watanya deserves similar treatment and should be suspended as an MP pending a ruling.

Her petition also comes a day after Ms Watanya filed a libel suit against the Future Forward MP.

The suit accuses the FFP spokeswoman of falsely claiming that Ms Watanya influenced the way Nation Multimedia reported on opposition parties. Ms Watanya was formerly a director of News Network, a media group that took over Nation Multimedia after a protracted shareholder battle.

In the suit she also denied that either she or her husband, the wealthy investor Chai Bunnag, held media company shares at the time she registered as an MP candidate.


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