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  1. #1
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    Censoring Free Speech in Thailand

    Thailand’s military junta’s fifth order following its coup d’etat September 19, 2006 was to appoint an Official Censor of the Military Coup. The overthrown elected government had publicly stated that it intended to block 800,000 websites.

    Thailand’s Official Censor never got that far but he did manage to block 17,793 sites before a general election. In addition the Royal Thai Police claim to block a further 32,500. The junta obviously considered the Internet a dangerous place as its ICT Ministry introduced a Computer-Related Crimes Act to the military-appointed parliament as its first law.

    The first draft of this cybercrime law included the death penalty, though, on final passage, the strictures were reduced to “only” 20 years for some computer crimes.

    Censorship in Thailand has always been accomplished by government in secret. The number of websites blocked, its blocklists and the methods it uses to block have never been disclosed to the Thai public which pays for it.

    However, the new cybercrime law required that the government seek a court order before blocking. However, since passage of the law, Web censorship has become far murkier, with Thailand’s 100 ISPs blocking blocking independently in order to avoid being criminalised under the law for illegal content transiting their servers and no court orders have been requested.

    Now ISPs are required to keep all Internet traffic logs for 90 days. Two cyberdissidents have already been arrested under the new law tracked by their IP addresses for comments they made on Thailand’s monarchy to public Web discussion boards.

    Most famously, Thailand’s official censor blocked YouTube for seven months in 2007 for sophomoric anti-monarchy videos posted to the site. The ICT Ministry blocked not only YouTube’s domain but 75 separate YouTube URLs before securing Google’s cooperation, in secret, to implement geolocational blocking at Thai government’s recommendation.

    The difference between Internet censorship in Thailand and that in the Middle East, Myanmar and China is that Thailand is famously a Constitutional monarchy. We claim to be a democracy but operate government-in-secret, above the law.
    Make no mistake: Internet censorship is illegal in Thailand under at least 11 articles of the 1997 Constitution, by decree of the lawmakers’ Council of State and by order of the Administrative Court...

    ...The past few weeks have seen YouTube blocked again as well as Prachatai, Thailand’s foremost independent news portal and Same Sky, a journal of social criticism. Both sites have popular public Web discussion boards. In the past, both sites have been warned by MICT to self-censor “sensitive” public comments.

    Global Voices Advocacy » Censoring Free Speech in Thailand
    Last edited by hillbilly; 19-05-2008 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    At about 00.00 of 15 May 2008, internet users of TOT in the North, Northeast and South reported that their attempts to access “Prachatai” were blocked, and the following message is shown.

    See below. (source: Prachatai.com)


    However, both were closed this week without court order by the ICT Minister who was interviewed on May 14 on the Khao Den Praden Ron radio news programme.

    His comments reveal that, not only was he completely aware he was acting above the law, but that suggestion for the censorship came from those higher up in Thai government.

    Quoting the Minister: “[Pursuing legal action] will…become a big scandal. We’d better suppress the news. Someone higher than me is of this opinion”. This means, of course, that the rose-apple is rotten to its core and that Thai bureaucrats engage in criminal acts with impunity.



    Global Voices Advocacy » Censoring Free Speech in Thailand

  3. #3
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    For a tinpot monarchy they sure press the panic button very quickly. The Thai government in power at present exudes paranoia. They know that control and censorship is a means to an end (to control the Thai people,media and all open other minded human beings.)
    Its like living in Communist Russia, its a Police state,the monarchy has no power, and if you disagree with them, they will find a way to hound you out.
    The only saving grace for Thailand is some of the people.
    "Don,t f*ck with the baldies*

  4. #4
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    For a tinpot monarchy they sure press the panic button very quickly.
    It is precisely because they are a tinpot democracy/monarchy that they press the panic button quickly.

    Were they actually a stable and real democratic country they would have no need to. The Monarchy is universally respected here, however, be it for the right reasons or not.

  5. #5
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    Censorship in Thailand has always been accomplished by government in secret. The number of websites blocked, its blocklists and the methods it uses to block have never been disclosed to the Thai public which pays for it.
    Thailand has it's pet subject's when it comes to censorship but internet censorship is practiced in varying degree by virtually every country. Will always be a big brother watching over us to make sure we are not subverted, perverted or influenced by information unfit for us. Get used to it.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    The first draft of this cybercrime law included the death penalty,
    Seems a bit harsh

  7. #7
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    Here is the loop hole. The government makes sure they bully internet providers into blocking sites. They "ask" True internet and others and they automatically comply. Then its the internet company doing the blocking and not the government.

    Voluntary censorship...............sort of

  8. #8
    សុខសប្បាយ
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat
    It is precisely because they are a tinpot democracy/monarchy that they press the panic button quickly.
    I would hardly call it a "tinpot Monarchy" because it has amassed far greater wealth and assets in recent years compared to say, the British Monarchy.

    It also has a much larger measure of control and influence over its serfs than its British equivalent.

  9. #9
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    Tinpot in terms of 'constitutional' monarchy, in terms of serving its people, in terms of having a benign influence instead of backing coups by the military.

  10. #10
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    Democrat urges ICT Ministry to block access to 29 websites









    The Democrat Party Monday urged the Information and Communication Technology Ministry to shut down or block access to 29 websites which have allegedly published comments or articled deemed insulting to the Monarchy.

    Democrat assistant secretary-general Thepthai Senpong said he had personally monitored these websites and found that they have content that was deemed insulting the highest institute.

    He alleged that the sites include Prachathai.com, Arayachon.org, Truthaksin.com and Thaksincomeback.org.

    The Nation

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    Navy chief urges media to boycott politicians who involve monarchy in politics









    Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm Sathiraphan Keyanon Monday urged the media to boycott and do not publicise activities of politicians who involve the monarchy in politics.

    He said the military was extremely concerned about the involvement of the revered institution in politics and has already warned politicians several times not to do so.

    However, he said the military would not stage another coup.

    He said the media could help in the issue by not giving publicity to politicians who have brought down the revered institution to politics.

    The Nation

  12. #12
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    Oops I can feel another coup coming on!!!! The military are CONCERNED!!! I am not sure how revered the Thai monarchy is outside Thailand, but one things for sure they certainly don,t ask a lot of questions of the government in power do they?
    Politics is a dirty business!! and I mean all politics.When a government is in power it promises to uphold the constitution!! I am now beginning to believe this constitution is not for the people, but for the rich fat cats living in Bangkok, because there is no advantage for any of the under classes... There politics and politicians suck!!!
    Heres to you Samak/Thaksin

  13. #13
    The Pikey Hunter
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    The first draft of this cybercrime law included the death penalty,
    Seems a bit harsh

    I dunno. I can think of a few trolls here where it would be quite a reasonable punishment.

  14. #14
    bkkandrew
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    A question for Admin:

    When the next Coup happens, do you wish someone to create a new thread, or tack it on to the last one?:https://teakdoor.com/famous-threads/7009-military-coup-in-thailand-2006-a.html

    If we know in advance, then the forum will be a tidier place...

  15. #15

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    With the new coup it probably would be better if it had its own thread, maybe something along the lines of "Military Coup In Thailand 2008".

  16. #16
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    or "the return of Sonthi"

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    ^ Part II, The return . . .




    (ah, to live in a banana republic/monarchy)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    With the new coup it probably would be better if it had its own thread, maybe something along the lines of "Military Coup In Thailand 2008".
    Maybe start a new sub-forum....

  19. #19
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    this is more of the classic thai style that seems to drive intelligent people away which is ashame for all

  20. #20
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    Chalerm to invoke the security law to shut down 29 websites



    Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung on Tuesday said he would cite the security law to close down 29 websites with contents deemed harmful to the monarchy.




    "The opposition has raised the issue of harmful contents in the Internet and I have checked relevant laws to find security provisions to deal with the isse," Chalerm said.



    The overthrown elected government had publicly stated that it intended to block 800,000 websites.

    so will this be 800,029 sites?



    this is one site and its in english http://www.prachatai.com/english/

    http://www.prachatai.com/english/news.php?id=624
    Last edited by gjbkk; 20-05-2008 at 12:35 PM.

  21. #21
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    I think this is the offending post - http://www.prachatai.com/05web/th/home/12059.


    Edit - the transcript of the interview concerning the denial of access to certain websites in instructions from the MICT


    The following is a transcript of the interview concerning the denial of access to certain websites in instructions from the MICT.

    000


    Broadcast from 17.35 to 19.00 on 14 May 2008 at Think Radio, 96.5 MCOT
    Moderated by Patchara Sarapimpa and Wisuth Khomwatcharapong

    000

    Patchara: The big news today is that the MICT ordered a ban on three websites alleged to feature lèse majesté contents. After a commercial break, we will get to hear from the Minister of ICT, Dr. Man Pattanotai.

    .....

    Patchara: The MICT just issued an order today.
    Wisuth: What kind of an order?
    Patchara: An order to ban websites.
    Wisuth: Ban?
    Patchara: Ban all websites featuring lèse majesté messages and images.
    Wisuth: Here we are, which ones are banned this time?
    Patchara: Well, we will talk to the MICT and find out. It seems they invoked their authority under the Cyber Crime Act 2007 which became effective just this year.
    Wisuth: They did not ban the Hi Thaksin website, right? They just asked them to remove some images. Now, they've ordered a further ban. Which websites are banned this time?
    Patchara: Is he on the line?
    Wisuth: Not yet.
    Patchara: OK, according to news we just received, last week, the MICT called a meeting of internet service providers asking for their cooperation in eliminating from all websites any messages and images constituting lèse majesté. Several ISPs have been very cooperative so far. But later the MICT even threatened to dispatch officers to inspect them, and if they find any websites that feature lèse majesté contents, they will immediately block the websites.
    Wisuth: Yes.
    Patchara: The MICT announced also that if anyone comes across websites featuring lèse majesté content, they can call this toll free number, 1111, to inform them.
    Wisuth: Four digits, 1111, not three digits.
    Patchara: Otherwise, people can report to www.mict.go.th. Reportedly, there are three websites banned by the MICT.
    Wisuth: ICT Minister.
    Patchara: That's right, they are Prachatai.
    Wisuth: Prachatai, then what?
    Patchara: Fah Diaw Kan.
    Wisuth: Fah Diaw Kan, OK. Then.
    Patchara: YouTube
    Wisuth: YouTube, altogether three websites.
    Patchara: We will ask the Minister what they were trying to block on the three websites, and how.
    Wisuth: And why, too.
    Patchara: Did they just ask for cooperation, or simply invoke their power to ban the websites.
    Wisuth: And how long will they block them?
    Patchara: Are these websites still blocked? There has been news that MICT wanted to block some websites, but they could not since some websites are registered abroad. The servers they use are located abroad. So they could only ask for their cooperation.
    Wisuth: And they blocked some websites briefly, and then let them go. We will talk to the Minister about this.

    Commercial and news break

    Patchara: Here we are going to talk with the ICT Minister, Dr. Man Pattanotai.
    Patchara, Wisuth: Good afternoon sir.
    MICT : Good afternoon, Khun Patchara and Khun Wisuth. I have been engaged on different lines and am sorry for being late.
    Wisuth: How many websites have been blocked so far?
    MICT : Hello.
    Patchara: Sir, how many websites have been blocked so far?
    MICT : Well, our officers are dealing with them We blocked both messages and images. In fact, we have been doing this for a week. In most cases, it is difficult since the webhosting service providers are located outside the country.
    Patchara: That's right.
    MICT: They are in California, Texas, New Jersey, we know where they are all located. We have received cooperation only from Google California and YouTube. During the APEC ministerial meeting in Bangkok, I talked with their Minister, and then Mr. David Cross, a diplomat from Washington. They knew the administration of Google and understood Thai culture. They knew well how we felt. After that contact, the content disappeared.
    Patchara: Not on Google anymore?
    MICT : No, no longer on either Google or YouTube, I mean they are not available in Thailand. But of course, they cannot deny the access to the content worldwide.
    Wisuth: That's right, we have no access to them from here, but elsewhere.
    Patchara: So if people use ISPs in the country, they can no longer have access to YouTube?
    MICT : There are more than 200 internet service providers in Thailand, and we, and CAT know them all. So if they are in Thailand, we can deal with them because we have the law. I have to thank Khun Patchara and Khun Wisuth for reading out the penalty, they deserve it if they are not loyal.
    Patchara: What really happened, sir? From the news I read, it was MICT asking for cooperation. But the latest news was that MICT simply issued an order to ban some websites. So in fact, you invoked your power to impose the ban, rather than to seek cooperation, right?
    MICT: Yes, I just ordered them closed. Of course, we understand that it is inappropriate to use the term, and it would be more pleasing to say we asked for cooperation. But they know what "asking for cooperation" means.
    Patchara: So you just invoked your legal power?
    MICT : Yes, we are clearly authorized by the criminal laws.
    Patchara: But why did not you say you banned the websites by yourself?
    MICT : We have to seek court warrants.
    Patchara: That's right.
    Wisuth: Now, they are just ordered to close, anything else?
    MICT We just cited the criminal laws to ban them.
    Patchara: And Fah Diaw Kan and Prachatai are banned because..?
    MICT : They have content about the monarchy. Thai people cannot bear this, and no one can. Not just me or my officers. Even the former ICT Minister, Sitthichai Pokaiyaudom, once he was informed about this, he asked me to ban them. And he would encourage folk who have the knowledge to hack the websites. Everyone is helping us. Even operators of internet services who have the knowledge in hacking also help us.
    Patchara: So we can no longer access the contents in YouTube?
    MICT : Yes
    Patchara: We cannot access them from Thailand?
    MICT : Yes, but you can from elsewhere.
    Patchara: So the websites, like, YouTube , still have the material, but you have to access the contents from abroad.
    MICT: I am not sure which proxy servers they are using, probably from India, or Malaysia. We have to keep tracking them down and blocking them.
    Patchara: They are websites registered abroad.
    MICT : Yes
    Patchara: What about Prachatai or Fah Diaw Kan, are they registered abroad?
    MICT : (coughing) I'd better not name it.
    Patchara: Are they in Thailand?
    MICT : It's better for me not to name it.
    Wisuth: In Thailand, after blocking the access, will you also pursue legal prosecution?
    MICT : The MICT officers can just monitor them.
    Patchara: Just monitoring?
    MICT : Well, the criminal laws put this clearly. And the DSI (Department of Special Investigation) and the Crime Suppression Division also keep monitoring, and military intelligence as well.
    Patchara: How?
    MICT : We have our joint taskforce, and we maintain cooperation.
    Patchara: And then what, will there be a prosecution or not?
    MICT : We know that some of them are afraid and on the run. We have to call them rouge websites, the illegal websites. They do the websites secretly, make them available for some time, and then close them down. Some websites are just accessible after midnight. We know about this from the USA. Because when it is daytime in USA, it is nighttime here.
    Patchara: Yes
    MICT : We cannot be too complacent.
    Patchara: So will the MICT pursue any legal action against them, too? After you blocked the websites, and the websites are closed, but before they are closed they featured this content.
    MICT : Well, Khun Patchara, we have a policy on this but I cannot elaborate on it. There is no need to pursue legal action.
    Patchara: It is simply a policy now.
    MICT : Khun Patchara should know I cannot elaborate on this.
    Patchara: You mean you do not want to pursue legal action against them, right?
    MICT: Doing so will it become a big scandal. We'd better suppress the news. Someone higher than me is of this opinion.
    Patchara: OK, we have to thank the ICT Minister for kindly...
    MICT : I just want to inform you that apart from our website, we have the number 1111, and anyone can call in. I want to check as well how frequently our centre has been informed about this matter. And if someone calls in and receives no response, call me up and I will ask the officers.
    Patchara: OK, we ask our audience to call in.
    MICT : Yes, we all have to help.
    Patchara: 1111, free of charge?
    MICT : Yes, free of charge.
    Patchara, Wisuth: Thank you very much, sir.
    MICT : Thank you.

    END


    Translated by Pipob Udomittipong
    Source: คำต่อคำสัมภาษณ์รัฐมนตรีไอซีทีในรายการข่าวเด่นประเด ็นร้อน
    Last edited by gjbkk; 20-05-2008 at 12:50 PM.

  22. #22
    bkkandrew
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjbkk View Post
    MICT: Doing so will it become a big scandal. We'd better suppress the news. Someone higher than me is of this opinion.
    I wonder who that is...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjbkk
    And he would encourage folk who have the knowledge to hack the websites. Everyone is helping us. Even operators of internet services who have the knowledge in hacking also help us.
    Amazing!

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