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Thailand urges care over content as Lazada promotion angers royalists -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A view from the Depok store of Lazada, an online retailer, on March 26, 2018, Indonesia. Picture taken March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/File Photograph

BANGKOK, (Reuters) – Thailand warned Saturday against creating online content that could insult the monarchy. This was after a YouTube video promoted by a social media user Lazada angered the royalists who claimed it was making fun of the palace.

Thai law provides for up to 15 year imprisonment for any offense that is found to be defaming King Maha Vajiralongkorn or his close family members.

This video was used to promote Lazada’s May 5 sale. It featured a Thai-trained woman in wheelchair playing the role as an influencer’s mom.

Royalists were furious that the female in the wheelchair was not a reference to any royal family members. The video didn’t use any language associated with the royal family or mention any members of it.

Aniwat Prathumthin posted the video on Facebook (NASDAQ) and said that it was a parody clip from a Thai soap opera. She also told critics that the perceived royal insult was just “all in your imagination”.

Lazada, Southeast Asian Arm of Alibaba (NYSE: Group Holding) Group Holding apologized for any emotional damage caused by the video and stated that it had been less careful.

Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a spokesperson for government, stated that brands could be damaged by such content.

Thanakorn released a statement saying, “Let’s warn marketers, influencers, and content creators that they should not present content or promotes that mention appearances or individuals from the institution that all Thais revere and love.”

This is unacceptable and it will upset all Thais in Thailand as well as damage the reputation and image of the brand. You could even be in violation of the law.

Following an April Fool’s prank that a Thai Vietjet Air employee tweeted about a new route between Bangkok and Munich, the incident caused anger among royalty who thought it was a joke about Thailand’s king spending his time in Germany. The airline apologized.