Thai political party slammed with ‘fake news’ charge

BANGKOK (AP) — The deputy leader of an up-and-coming political party contesting Thailand’s general election has become the latest target of online content laws after unwittingly sharing a false news article.

A spokeswoman for the Future Forward Party said on Tuesday that a representative of the ruling military junta had filed a police complaint accusing Pongsakorn Rodchompoo of violating the Computer Crime Act, which carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment. Pongsakorn admits sharing an article that accused a top junta official of buying cups of coffee for 12,000 baht (USD377) each, but says he deleted the post within minutes after learning it originated from a website promoting fake news, Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika Wanich said. The story had been widely circulated on Facebook.

Five other people have reportedly been charged for the same offence, accused of violating a provision of the law against online activity that endangers national security.