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A political activist and royalist filed a petition to shut down Lazada’s platforms in Thailand on Monday following controversy over an ad which critics say poked fun at the country’s revered monarchy.
The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) said they are going to prosecute all parties found to have broken the law.
“Even if the private company has already admitted it and they have issued a statement of apology but personally, the statement was not enough because the case has affected good morals, the national stability, and the dignity of people with disabilities,” Srisuwan Janya told reporters at the DES on Monday.
The activist said he is asking the DES to shut down Lazada’s website and e-commerce platform because they funded an online advertisement that was deemed by royalists to be offensive to the royal family and people with disabilities.
The advertisement was created by Intersect, an advertisement agency, which featured Aniwat “Nara Crape Katoey” Pathumthin, an online influencer, and Thidaporn “Nuu-rat” Chaochuwieng, an actress with a disability, while they were promoting the Lazada 5.5 sale campaign.
The advertisement was published last week and it prompted royalist netizens to use the #BanLAZADA hashtag to vent their anger towards the creators of the content and Lazada who funded it.
Both Intersect and Lazada have issued statements of apology but it did not stop royalist celebrities, academics, and politicians from joining the call to stop buying products from Lazada.
There was a small protest at Lazada’s office in Bangkok on Friday when royalist groups went to hand in an open letter to urge the company to show more responsibility for funding the advertisement.
However, the e-commerce company did not send any representative to meet or receive the letter from the groups which led them to tear up the letter in front of the office.
The Technology Crime Suppression Division said on Sunday that they have accepted a lese-majeste complaint made by Srisuwan against Aniwat, Intersect and Lazada and the investigation is currently ongoing.
Digital minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said on Monday after a representative from the ministry accepted the petition made by Srisuwan that it is up to the court to decide whether to shutdown Lazada’s platforms or not.
“We have been following this case since we heard of the news that there was an inappropriate post and we have been collecting evidence ever since,” he told reporters.
“There were 42 URLs that shared the content and we have contacted the platform to block and take down the content already and there will be prosecutions on the case in accordance with the law,” he said.
He said Aniwat, Intersect and Lazada will all be prosecuted.
“The shutting down of the platform will be up to the court‘s consideration but according to the law, the platform is the middleman, not the one that posted the content,” he said.
“If the ministry already informed them and they have taken down the content then they will not be at fault because they are the middleman…but if they continue to allow for the content to be shared, they will become an accomplice and they will have to face charges as well,” he said.