Political Interpretation of Cartoon in Khaimeawx Facebook Page

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Nantaporn Wongchestha

Abstract

This article is a part of research on the political interpretation of cartoons in Khaimeawx Facebook page which has a stance against and aims to criticize the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and its Government under the situation of freedom of political expression oppression. The objectives are to study the political meaning and types of signs that are applied in Khaimeawx’s cartoon during February 16, 2018 – January 12, 2020. This qualitative research used textual analysis and applied Charles Sander Peirce’s semiotics concept to examine signs of political meaning in cartoons. The political meanings reflect in the main characters and political context in Thailand with coconut shell as a metaphor. NCPO characters, especially the NCPO leader, have negative images and were discredited by overactive imaginary signs while characters from democracy and oppose NCPO side have positive images. The content reflects authoritarian government who tends to restrict the right of political expression freedom, intervene in media and independent entities, run ineffective governance, postpone the national election and its good governance, and have self-beneficial concerns of political parties/ politicians as well as establish harm to the opponents. Most signs used in Khaimeawx are the icon, mostly applied through caricature to convey convenience of understanding. However, the symbol is the outstanding tactical sign that is used to shortcut political meaning through popular culture (such as movies, comics, and games) while the index has not been frequently used. Signs are used connotatively to divide political sides, narration, and political performances with dark humor satire, thus enabling Khaimeawx to create complex political interpretation with identity and attractiveness as well as be able to evade the state's political content scrutiny.

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