Democrat Party spokesperson Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said he had evidence to prove that the government - through PM Yingluck Shinawatra's aide Suranand Vejjajiva - had tried to stop USA Today from interviewing opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Chavanond said the evidence came in the form of e-mails exchanged between the newspaper and Abhisit, which clearly showed that Suranand had stopped the interview from taking place. Chavanond said he will be submitting the evidence to the Office of the Ombudsman demanding that it find out if Suranand had breached the Constitution’s Article 46 paragraph 3.
The Democrat spokesman said USA Today first wrote to Abhisit on April 24 saying a group of people from the newspaper will be in Thailand from May 1-24 and wished to meet the Democrat leader on May 6, 7 or 9. Through his personal secretary Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, Abhisit said he could meet the group on May 7 or 9 at 10am. The newspaper then sent him a note of thanks, confirming the meeting on May 9, and sent details of members of the group.
Later, within an hour, Somkiat received an e-mail from one of the journalists saying: “The appointment is being immediately cancelled because [we or I] just spoke with Suranand who said the PM’s Office Ministry will not support us if we go and meet with Abhisit.”
About 15 minutes later, USA Today sent Somkiat an e-mail formally cancelling the interview.
Chavanond said he was not sure if Suranand was lying, or if the newspaper was making things up, but he wanted Suranand to clarify the matter. He said he would also personally write to USA Today to seek clarification.
If there are signs that media interference has taken place, then the government is breaching Article 46 of the Constitution, he said.