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  1. #1
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    Censorship in Thailand

    Censoring opponents

    The Abhisit Vejjajiva government now ranks head an shoulders above any previous civilian government in one area: media control and censorship. Every day new websites are close for allegedly being anti-government or anti monarchy.This is remarkable when it is considered that Abhisit regularly proclaims his government to be legitimate, in place through parliamentary means, and that it values democracy.

    Almost all red shirt electronic and broadcast media have been closed or blocked. Just in the past couple of days, the English version of the UDD Thailand Facebook group has been shut down, as was a new page that was created to replace it. The Thai versions had earlier been shut down.

    Yesterday PPT reported a new lese majeste arrest based on a Facebook page.

    Meanwhile, Prachatai’s Facebook page was blocked on 28 April by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). This follows the 8 April blocking of Prachatai’s web pages and the charges brought against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai’s executive director. Prachatai is an independent news outlet but the Abhisit government considers it oppositional. It can still be accessed in Thailand but only via proxy servers and mirror sites.

    According to Prachatai, two other websites were closed in the aftermath of the clash between security forces and Red Shirt protesters on 27 April. Chiranuch said that another news website, www.springnewstv.com,which provides news content to satellite TV channels, was also blocked after it ran a video clip of the 27 April violent confrontation between soldiers and policemen and red shirts near Don Muang. Vimeo, Video Sharing For You was also shut down, apparently for running video footage of the same clash.

    Updated: Censoring opponents Political Prisoners in Thailand

  2. #2
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    April 9, third day of martial law, the Deputy PM’s CRES center authorised the ICT ministry to block further websites and Twitter if they were being ‘provocative’ in inciting disunity. He stated that a further 9-10,000 websites (press reports vary) had been blocked since the start of Red rallies in March and that a list of 700 more will follow. Obviously this list had been prepared long beforehand to take advantage of the fact court orders were not necessary.

    However, these new government figures bring the total number of websites blocked in Thailand near to 65,000.


    .... The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has now been strictly curbing all defamatory internet contents that likely pose serious threat to national security with an aim of preventing further division in the society.

    Meanwhile, the internet users have been warned to use the internet in the right way or with appropriate purpose and avoid disseminating information that could create misunderstanding or instigate violent actions among the public. Also, all popular websites and social networks such as facebook, twitter, hi5 and my space will be under thorough watch.

    Violators will be prosecuted by law with no compromise.


    .... The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has daily detected over 300 websites containing radical political views that instigated violent actions among the public.

    MICT urged for public cooperation to report defamatory internet contents via Hotline 1212 or email them directly to 1212[at]mict.mail.go.th.


    .... Thai Journalists’ Association and the Thailand Cable TV Association issued this statement in response to the censorship activities of the state

    The blockade of information like this definitely affected the people’s rights to free information. The people affected by the information blockade could come out to demonstrate in a bigger number and could cause the situation to be more complicated and lead to violence.

    A group of former senators of Thailand made this demand

    Stop all the obstruction of public information flows and news reports presented in print media, radio and TV stations, telecommunications, the Internet and all other kind of media, in order to return the constitutional rights to information and expression to the people.

    FACT - – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand asks if the government secured a court order before it blocked the “seditious” websites

    The new censorship means that Thailand blocks nearly 65,000 websites. So we have a few questions for the ICT minister. Why are your blocklists not made public with the reasons for each block? Did you get court orders to block these 10,000 more websites as required by the Computer Crimes Act prior to martial law? Why won't you make these court orders public?

    Global Voices in English Thailand: Online censorship amid protests
    Last edited by sabang; 03-05-2010 at 01:11 AM.

  3. #3
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    This is getting really quite scary.

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    I think you should be criticizing 'martial law' and the reason for imposing it, not what it entails.

    Under martial law these sorts of actions are quite normal.

  5. #5
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    ^ Thailand has not imposed a state of martial law though. Yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    ^ Thailand has not imposed a state of martial law though. Yet.
    Then it's out of order, when was this martial law supposed to come in to play then ? I thought it had already happened.

    It does not surprise me that they would do this though. However we do not know the exact content of what has been blocked, if it was ensighting violence against the state then you could say the Gov have a case.

    It is all good and nice to have free speech, I would never say it wasn't, but if that leads to violent activity then the Gov is sort of doing the right thing by nipping it in the bud, possibly avoiding more death.
    Last edited by bangkokbonecollector; 03-05-2010 at 01:20 AM.
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  7. #7
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
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    ^from what I see if you say anything opposing the govt then you are blocked.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by britmaveric View Post
    ^from what I see if you say anything opposing the govt then you are blocked.
    Quite possibly true, which would be a shame but hey as I said, I am not surprised, are you ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bangkokbonecollector
    if it was ensighting violence against the state then you could say the Gov have a case.
    I'm certainly not privy to the contents of 65K blocked websites, many in Thai. But the UDD is calling for elections, not the violent overthrow of the government.

    Prachathai, for example, is not even a pro- UDD website. It's crime, it appears, is giving voice to anti as well as pro-government viewpoints.

  10. #10
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    I seem to remember seeing Abhisit saying it was not up to him to declare martial law ! ......is he waiting for the military to do it ?



    Many thanks to BBC
    Last edited by Bower; 03-05-2010 at 01:48 AM.

  11. #11
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    The fiasco at the Bridge.
    The truth coming out about the Chula Hospital thing
    The CRES pulling in students for questioning, and unsubstantiated accusations of Plots against Opposition figures
    Unprecedented and heavy handed media censorship.

    It seems to me the governments handling of this situation has slipped from inept to calamitous.

    Anyone read George Orwell recently?

  12. #12
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    could it not be that the government is erring on the side of caution before declaring martial law!!because no matter what decision it makes it will always be the long one

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    The fiasco at the Bridge.
    The truth coming out about the Chula Hospital thing
    The CRES pulling in students for questioning, and unsubstantiated accusations of Plots against Opposition figures
    Unprecedented and heavy handed media censorship.

    It seems to me the governments handling of this situation has slipped from inept to calamitous.

    Anyone read George Orwell recently?
    Sabang none of these have been reported by major news agencies, so are you saying that we as the general public should be believing blogs ?

    Please point me to any articles of the above that have been confirmed/reported by any news agency. Sorry I am probably not following this as much as I should be.

  14. #14
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    The Bridge fiasco is even documented in The Notion. You probably won't read the 'unsubstantiated' rumours that the mysterious assassins (for that they were) in black where in fact a disaffected and elite military unit though. But that is what several of those seriously injured senior Officers are saying privately, according to sources. Serious rift in the Military.

    You'll never read the truth about Chula in the Paste. Merely a multitude of eyewitness accounts. I know it's been reported in the Aussie press though.

    CRES- unsubstantiated accusations about a 'plot' by Chavalit are in the local press. Pulling in students for Q's still in the Blogosphere.

    Media censorship- widely known, widely disseminated. Not denied. The scale came as some surprise though- it is unprecedented in modern Thai history.


    Whatever ones views of the Reds, I think we all know we get a very watered down version of the 'News' in the Notion and the Bangkok Paste.
    Last edited by sabang; 03-05-2010 at 02:22 AM.

  15. #15
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    Chulalongkorn Hospital – an alternative account

    New Mandala was established in June 2006 by Andrew Walker and Nicholas Farrelly.

    Andrew’s current work focuses on village-level political life and economic transformation in a lowland area of northern Thailand. His other research interests include environmental politics, regional trade and village ritual.

    Hmmmmmmm, Northern of Thailand, regardless of whether or not the mods of this blog are picking what articles/reports to keep or discard, I still do not see how you can take reports written on sites like these as fact.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    Whatever ones views of the Reds, I think we all know we get a very watered down version of the 'News' in the Notion and the Bangkok Paste.
    Indeed, I am always against the blocking of sites and drowning of the average civilians voice but I do feel that maybe some of this is being done to avert more bloodshed.

    We will have to see how this all turns out and just what is the Governments plan.

  17. #17
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    This is not a recent news article, it was written late last year. It describes a climate of fear in Thailand. Not sure how long it will be available though-
    About us Political Prisoners in Thailand

  18. #18
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangkokbonecollector View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by britmaveric View Post
    ^from what I see if you say anything opposing the govt then you are blocked.
    Quite possibly true, which would be a shame but hey as I said, I am not surprised, are you ?
    Well I certainly thought Thailand was a bit above that sort of thing, but they seem to be of the same mentality as the Chinese, Burmese, and NK governments which is quite sad.
    Last edited by britmaveric; 03-05-2010 at 04:22 AM.
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  19. #19
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    From the NY Times, 2/5/10, no less:-


    BANGKOK — Viewers of Thai soap operas now have a choice: they can follow the over-dramatized acting and weepy plot lines of shows like “The Glass Around the Diamond” or they can read pro-government political messages scrolling on the bottom of the screen.

    “The Thai people love peace but when we go to war, we are not fearful,” reads one of the dozens of messages broadcast on two government channels exhorting people to oppose the protest movement that has paralyzed parts of Bangkok for more than seven weeks.

    “Sometimes the Thai people have to fight bad Thai people,” says another.


    .... After a failed crackdown on the so-called red-shirt protesters last month, the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is leading a two-pronged campaign it hopes will strangle support for the protest movement. The government is sharpening its public relations message while trying to shut down the opposition’s media, a plan that in some parts of the country appears to be backfiring.


    ....Officials are also accusing red shirts of trying to overthrow the monarchy, an incendiary charge that protest leaders reject.

    In an interview with foreign correspondents on Sunday, Mr. Abhisit suggested that the government would try to shut down community radio stations, which have multiplied throughout the country in recent months, especially in the populous red-shirt stronghold of the northeast.

    He accused the radio stations of being “command centers” for the red shirts and playing a “coordinating role” in the unrest.

    .... One military intelligence officer described the red shirt movement as spreading “like a virus” in the northeast.

    The red shirts broadcast their message using community radio stations and, until recently, the satellite television station PTV, which was shut down by the government last month.

    Their public-relations campaign has focused on a few key words, notably the “double standards” in Thai society applied to the poor compared with the rich and well-connected. They also call the Abhisit government illegitimate because it came after court decisions that barred two prime ministers from the opposition camp.


    Message Battle Heats Up in Thai Crisis - NYTimes.com


    Is treating people like children a way for a government to gain credibility??

  20. #20
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    The fact that the site, Political Prisoners in Thailand, is not blocked is surprising to me. Though I resent not being able to read the other side of the argument, in some of these cases the government is doing the right thing. Giles Ungpakorn's blog is blocked with fairly good reason. There are others that advocate violence.

    In any case, it is not difficult to go around the blocks.

  21. #21
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    Message Battle Heats Up in Thai Crisis
    THOMAS FULLER
    Poypiti Amatatham contributed reporting.
    May 2, 2010

    BANGKOK — Viewers of Thai soap operas now have a choice: they can follow the over-dramatized acting and weepy plot lines of shows like “The Glass Around the Diamond” or they can read pro-government political messages scrolling on the bottom of the screen.

    “The Thai people love peace but when we go to war, we are not fearful,” reads one of the dozens of messages broadcast on two government channels exhorting people to oppose the protest movement that has paralyzed parts of Bangkok for more than seven weeks.

    “Sometimes the Thai people have to fight bad Thai people,” says another.

    Thailand’s political crisis is playing out on the streets here, where antigovernment protesters, who are demanding new elections, are defending their fortified encampment in the commercial heart of the city. But political battles are also being waged through television, Facebook, community radio stations and Internet chat rooms.

    After a failed crackdown on the so-called red-shirt protesters last month, the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is leading a two-pronged campaign it hopes will strangle support for the protest movement. The government is sharpening its public relations message while trying to shut down the opposition’s media, a plan that in some parts of the country appears to be backfiring.

    A constant crawl at the bottom of television screens, which started running in March on two government-owned stations, makes the case that “malevolent” protesters are hurting the country and should go home. And an advertisement implores: “Thais should love each other because we all live in the same country.”

    At the same time the government has shut down an opposition television station and at least 420 Web sites affiliated with the red shirt movement.

    Officials are also accusing red shirts of trying to overthrow the monarchy, an incendiary charge that protest leaders reject.

    In an interview with foreign correspondents on Sunday, Mr. Abhisit suggested that the government would try to shut down community radio stations, which have multiplied throughout the country in recent months, especially in the populous red-shirt stronghold of the northeast.

    He accused the radio stations of being “command centers” for the red shirts and playing a “coordinating role” in the unrest.

    “We are trying to restore order,” he said. “I’m not going to say that no media is allowed to attack or comment on the other side. But certainly no media should be allowed to play the role of inciting violence.”

    The prime minister also said he had not ruled out using force to end the standoff in Bangkok. “We are now in the process of cutting off support and sealing the area off before we actually move in,” he said.

    But a crackdown does not appear imminent, especially after 25 people died and 800 were injured in the botched attempt to clear protesters on April 10.

    Mr. Abhisit said Sunday that he remained patient and that the “best solution is one that does not involve violence or confrontation or conflicts.” An aide said the prime minister would soon release a “political roadmap” that could bring reconciliation to the country after four years of turmoil.

    The overarching strategy for the government appears to be demonizing the protesters and hoping that public opinion swings against them, a process that could take months. Mr. Abhisit and his advisers warn of “terrorists” among the protesters.

    So far, the public relations campaign has had mixed results. In Bangkok there is growing anger at the red shirts over the barricaded streets and their incursion last week into a hospital, which caused panic in the wards. But there is also deepening frustration over the government’s inability to drive out the protesters.

    “The government is good at building up their image from these messages on television, but no one is taking any action to solve the problem,” said Yont Klomkleaw, a manager for a market research company in Bangkok.

    On Sunday, the prime minister’s Facebook page had about 600 comments, many of them supportive; “fight! fight!” was a common refrain. But there were also critical postings. “Sometimes, words alone may not be enough,” wrote one commenter, Anyarporn Tansirikongkol.

    In the provinces, especially the red shirts’ base in the north and northeast, the government’s efforts may be backfiring, with many villagers rejecting the messages as spin and propaganda, a view encouraged by the movement’s leaders.

    “The government is just lying to the people,” said Jarungkiat Chatchawat, who runs a food stall in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen. “It doesn’t have any influence on me.”

    One military intelligence officer described the red shirt movement as spreading “like a virus” in the northeast.

    The red shirts broadcast their message using community radio stations and, until recently, the satellite television station PTV, which was shut down by the government last month.

    Their public-relations campaign has focused on a few key words, notably the “double standards” in Thai society applied to the poor compared with the rich and well-connected. They also call the Abhisit government illegitimate because it came after court decisions that barred two prime ministers from the opposition camp.

    The red shirts say they want to bring genuine democracy to Thailand, a message that sells well in the north and northeast, where many farmers and villagers feel their voice was muted by the 2006 military coup.

    In Bangkok there is more skepticism about the protesters’ motives.
    “This is not about democracy, it’s about thuggery,” Voranai Vanijaka, a columnist for The Bangkok Post, wrote in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. “It’s about nothing less than forcing the government to bend to their every whim and every will.”

    Mr. Voranai suggested the red shirt movement was a vendetta by Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire who was removed as prime minister in the 2006 coup, after a court in February ordered a large share of his assets seized by the state.

    Although the references are often oblique, Mr. Thaksin and his allies appear to be the target of many of the government’s messages. One message running on the bottom of television screens warns:

    “Don’t become a tool, don’t be naive and don’t hurt the country for the sake of only one person.”

    nytimes.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Censoring opponents

    The Abhisit Vejjajiva government now ranks head an shoulders above any previous civilian government in one area: media control and censorship. Every day new websites are close for allegedly being anti-government or anti monarchy.This is remarkable when it is considered that Abhisit regularly proclaims his government to be legitimate, in place through parliamentary means, and that it values democracy.

    Almost all red shirt electronic and broadcast media have been closed or blocked. Just in the past couple of days, the English version of the UDD Thailand Facebook group has been shut down, as was a new page that was created to replace it. The Thai versions had earlier been shut down.

    Yesterday PPT reported a new lese majeste arrest based on a Facebook page.

    Meanwhile, Prachatai’s Facebook page was blocked on 28 April by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). This follows the 8 April blocking of Prachatai’s web pages and the charges brought against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai’s executive director. Prachatai is an independent news outlet but the Abhisit government considers it oppositional. It can still be accessed in Thailand but only via proxy servers and mirror sites.

    According to Prachatai, two other websites were closed in the aftermath of the clash between security forces and Red Shirt protesters on 27 April. Chiranuch said that another news website, www.springnewstv.com,which provides news content to satellite TV channels, was also blocked after it ran a video clip of the 27 April violent confrontation between soldiers and policemen and red shirts near Don Muang. Vimeo, Video Sharing For You was also shut down, apparently for running video footage of the same clash.

    Updated: Censoring opponents Political Prisoners in Thailand
    It happens everywhere

    President Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War — History.com This Day in History — 5/25/1861

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I'm certainly not privy to the contents of 65K blocked websites, many in Thai. But the UDD is calling for elections, not the violent overthrow of the government.
    Not according to our resident expert Dr B0b; what we are looking at is a Revolution aimed at the overthrow of the current political system.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bangkokbonecollector
    if it was ensighting violence against the state then you could say the Gov have a case.
    I'm certainly not privy to the contents of 65K blocked websites, many in Thai. But the UDD is calling for elections, not the violent overthrow of the government.

    Prachathai, for example, is not even a pro- UDD website. It's crime, it appears, is giving voice to anti as well as pro-government viewpoints.
    I don't agree with censorship, but......

    Storming gov't buildings, calling for the death of the PM, having rifles and grenades, as well as sharpened bamboo and rocks. That sounds like a violent overthrow to me.

  25. #25
    Mmmm, Bowling......
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    ^ You're right and the PAD should never have resorted to that kind of violence.

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