The Administrative Court Case filed by ‘Shakespeare Must Die’



Press Release

Date: 9 August, 2012, Bangkok

Re: The Administrative Court Case filed by ‘Shakespeare Must Die’
We, the co-claimants, Mr Manit Sriwanichpoom and Ms Smanrat Kanjanavanit (Ing K), have submitted an administrative lawsuit against the following defendants, namely the National Board of Film and Video, presided over by Ms Yingluck Shinawatra in her capacity of chairperson of the National Board of Film and Video, and the Film Censorship Board (Third Committee), who conspired to refuse permission for the film ‘Shakespeare Must Die’, a Thai cinematic version of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’, to be distributed in the Kingdom of Thailand; our reasons for submitting the lawsuit being:
1. The Film Censorship Committee (Third Committee) cited the following reason for their refusal of permission: the film ‘has content that creates divisiveness among the people of the nation.” However, the said rationale is unlawful (when applied to a scene reminiscent of the October 6 massacre). In Thai society, there have been many incidents of massacres of citizens: the events of October 14, 1973, of October 6, 1976, of Black May 1992, and the War on Drugs in which more than 2,500 people lost their lives (from 1 February to 30 April 2003), for example. All these events are manifestations of violence in Thai society, that cannot be forgotten nor kept hidden in any way. On the contrary, all Thai people should together learn from them, to unite in ensuring that such events do not recur.
2. The National Board of Film and Video, chaired by Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, cited the following reason to refuse permission: “some scenes have contents that are in conflict with peaceful social order or good public morality” or “may adversely affect the security of the state and the patriotic dignity of the nation.” The incidents of violence that have repeatedly occurred in Thai society ought to be lessons to learn from, as we cited in item 1. Regarding the term “national security”, the law pertains to the “nation state” itself, not meaning to apply to any specific administration. The same applies to the patriotic dignity of the nation, which does not mean the dignity of any specific administration of government.
Therefore, both co-claimants are respectfully requesting the court to issue a verdict or court order to lift the co-defendants’ ban on the distribution of the film ‘Shakespeare Must Die’ in the kingdom. The co-claimants are also seeking damages and compensation equal to the budget spent on the production of the said film, including interests of 7.5 percent per year, from the date of refusal of permission to the day of submission of this administrative lawsuit, to the amount of 7,530,388.55 baht (seven million, five hundred and thirty thousand, three hundred and eighty-eight baht and fifty-five satang). Although this sum does not include the co-claimants’ personal compensation in the process of film production and damage to their reputations and lost opportunity from potential investors in their future film projects, caused by the reasons cited by the defendants, the co-claimants are not seeking compensation for these latter damages.
First claimant: Mr Manit Sriwanichpoom
Second claimant: Ms Smanrat Kanjanavanit