How did you feel when you were summoned?

I was a bit surprised but stayed calm. It happened right after General Prayuth Chan-ocha came back from the UN event in October. The army officers stormed into Thairath seeking me but I never actually sit and work at their offices, so they told Thairath to contact me and tell me to go to The Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters. I went and met with the army, who had Xerox copies of lots of my cartoons and said they might sue me for some of my work, such as the airport link scandal picture. I knew I wasn’t in any trouble as I could explain every single cartoon I drew—none are just made up. It all comes from the news; I just pick which stories to turn into cartoons. They finally released me and told me to be available any time they want to reach me. 

How has your work changed since?

It’s pretty normal in general but I am more careful. I have to think a lot before finalizing each cartoon, and whether I could be sued for it. I must admit that it’s pretty much 100-percent self-censorship.

Have you ever faced something like this before?

Since I started my job in 1978, journalists have faced this sort of thing many times, but it’s mostly just talk. There was one case, however, which I felt was really serious. I was charged under Article 112 during Abhisit’s government. I drew a cartoon depicting Abhisit as a puppet of Suthep Thaugsuba, but my depiction of Suthep was too slim and they accused me of drawing His Majesty’s face. The case went on for three years before I was finally cleared of all charges.

How do you feel about being branded as biased?

It’s OK. I actually do take sides. For three decades I have stood by the same position, which is democracy and justice. I’m against all kinds of violence and dictatorship. Everyone is equal and has the same rights. If you don’t like the government, then the system already allows you to get rid of them in four years. But as long as I can remember, it always ends in two years because powerful people who’ve lost their privileges can never wait. 

How do you feel about the current political system?

It’s hard to reconcile as being just. Cases against one side are moving forward so fast while those against another side are frozen. I think they should give politicians the chance to be involved in drafting the new constitution. What right do those currently in power have to define our future for the next 20 years? Even elected governments don’t have such a right—they only get four years to govern. Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan