Sunday, December 21, 2008

Internet censorship in Thailand

FACT (Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand) reports that it has obtained a list of some 1,103 websites that have been blocked by the government of Thailand. According to FACT "these lists were leaked from Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology." Websites blocked include not only ones in Thailand, but sites in a dozen countries around the world.

Court orders related to some of the blocked websites "cite reasons of lese majeste and national security." Lese majeste is the crime of defaming the Thai monarchy which carries a long prison sentence.

FACT reports on the sites which were blocked:

Along with the obligatory YouTube videos and their mirror sites alleged to be lese majeste in Thailand, numerous blocks to Thai webboard pages, particularly at popular discussion sites, Prachatai (45 separate pages) and Same Sky (56 separate pages). Of course, all webboards in Thailand, including Prachatai and Same Sky, moderate all threads and discussions and self-censor to avoid closure. It is interesting that bureaucrats still find reasons to censor.

Also blocked are weblogs referencing Paul Handley's unauthorised Biography of Thailand's King Bhumibhol, The King Never Smiles, and its translation into Thai along with Thai Wikipedia entries.

The webpages of respected Thai Buddhist social critic, Sulak Sivaraksa who is currently on bail for his fourth accusation of lese majeste, and Matthew Hunt, respected Thai journalist, anticensorship activist and FACT signer, are also blocked as are pages of the respected international newsmagazine, The Economist.
A total of 860 YouTube videos have been blocked, far in excess of the blocking conducted by The Official Censor of the Military Coup; a further 200 pages mirroring those videos are also blocked.

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