Website Censorship in Thailand – 2008-2011


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Report improper websites - July 31, 2010
The billboard: All together creating an online world for a qualified learning society - If you find an improper website, call 1212 

This page: Website censorship in Thailand - 2008-2011
Also: Website censorship in Thailand - 2002-2007

Thai web editor may face 70 years in jail - AFP, November 23, 2010
Chiranuch Premchaiporn's air of cheerful optimism crumpled briefly as she contemplated the threat of 70 years in prison -- for remarks about the Thai monarchy that other people posted on her website...

Thailand: Prachatai director - Scoop, November 13, 2010
..."That she has to criss-cross the country to answer charges in whatever provinces they were lodged against her over website contents that she herself did not author is sheer nonsense, deserving of the strongest condemnation by right-minded people everywhere," Fernando said.
Pointing out that whereas in Thailand there are no criminal offences defining torture or enforced disappearance, the policy director of the Hong Kong based-regional rights group remarked that for Internet crimes to carry lengthy prison terms illustrates how authoritarian and militarized governments use law with increasing cynicism...


Thailand: Computer-Related Crimes Act 2007
- Scoop, November 14, 2010

New video clip posted, blocked - Bangkok Post, November 9, 2010

Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line - Guardian Unlimited, October 25, 2010
...In Thailand, website moderators can face decades in jail for a posted comment they did not even write, if the government deems it injurious to the monarchy...

Thailand blocking WikiLeaks, says official - Bangkok Post, August 18, 2010

Thai groups denounce Web censorship - WSJ, August, 2010
...Human Rights Watch has called Thailand's censorship a "broad-brush clampdown" that "violated Thailand's obligations to respect media freedom and freedom of expression."
Thai officials say the country remains open to public debate, and that the curbs are in place to prevent antigovernment groups from inciting violence or otherwise threatening the nation's stability.
Political analysts note that previous administrations—including one supported by Thailand's current crop of antigovernment protesters—moved to clamp down on the media...

Govt cracks down on social networking forums - Bangkok Post, July, 2010
Facebook users urged to safeguard their privacy, after one Thai member is arrested on lese majeste charges...

Thailand sets up unit to tackle websites insulting royals - AFP, June 16, 2010
The Thai cabinet Tuesday approved the creation of a new cyber crime agency to stamp out online criticism of the revered monarchy...


US citizen interrogated by Thai officials for his online activities - IFEX, May 14, 2010
..."Chai's case seems to show that American authorities do not object to foreign officials interrogating US citizens on American soil. Even more scandalous, Thai officials can require American firms to comply with Thai laws even when operating in the US. This is contradictory to U.S. law and protection of national business. We are urging the Department of Justice to take action regarding this case", Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights USA declared...

Thailand censors more websites as protests persist - AP, May 8, 2010
George Orwell's "1984" had its Big Brother, and Thailand has Ranongrak Suwanchawee. The country's information minister stares down from billboards along Bangkok's expressways, warning that "Bad websites are detrimental to society" and should be reported to a special hot line...

Web block adds controversies to laws - Bangkok Post, May 6, 2010

Above: Page blocking www.AsiaSentinel.com

Online censorship amid mounting political tension - IFEX, April 1, 2010
...Reporters Without Borders also condemns the government's censorship of the Internet. More than 50,000 websites and web pages are currently blocked in Thailand. The latest to join the list is Asia Sentinel ( http://www.asiasentinel.com/ ), an independent news website that is apparently being punished for posting a long and detailed series of analyses of the political situation since the 2006 military coup...


Incredibly this block is only in place for www.AsiaSentinel.com and not AsiaSentinel.com. Also, all the inner pages are not blocked, such as: Lèse-Majesté Charges in Thailand

The "BAN" page is an unusually aggressive-looking block page. Thai censors have tended to use fake "Not Found" pages such as the one used for the Wikipedia page on the King.

Listed here on Google:

When accessing the Wikipedia page from within Thailand:


Google has censorship balancing act outside China - AP, March 31, 2010
...For instance, local laws prodded Google to help shield Turkey's founder and Thailand's monarch from public ridicule by blocking unflattering videos of them in their home countries...


Prachatia webmaster granted bail‏ - Bangkok Post, March 31, 2010
...Ms Chiranuch had to wait nearly four hours before bail was approved with a 300,000 baht bond, calculated on her salary as a nursing sister, for not removing commens posted on a web-board deemed offensive to the monarchy fast enough to satisfy the government censors...
She is accused of allowing lese majeste in comments posted on Prachatai’s online discussion board.. If convicted she faces up to 50 years imprisonment...


Government directions on "rumor-mongering" growing out of proportion, says SEAPA - SEAPA/IFEX, November 6, 2009
..."The ICT Minister's statement itself is a concern because MICT has no authority to close down any website or take actions against ISPs," said Chavarong Limpattamapanee, vice president of the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and a SEAPA board member...
Arresting the two citizens, Theeranan Vipuchanin and Katha Pajariyapong, on charges of spreading rumors online when in fact they merely posted Thai translation of articles from respected media outlet Bloomberg, was already a concern...


Use of Computer Act questioned - The Nation, November 3, 2009
...Sarinee said the charge against Thiranan was unreasonable, because it was just a translation of Bloomberg news piece, which has millions of readers.
"We should start from the question: what kind of information is really "damaging" enough to warrant arrest?,… so if someone is just copying news from reliable sources which adhere to professional standards, e.g. identifying rumors as such, not claiming them to be truth, then it is really up the readers themselves to consider the news carefully" Sarinee said...

Wikipedia page on the Thai king blocked? - October 6, 2009
At least through local ISP KSC, searching for "Bhumibol Adulyadej" brings up one of the fake "file not found" pages that Thai censors employ.

Update: Nils reports that ISP True is blocking it too, but admits it, redirecting to http://58.97.5.29/court.html (below).


Thailand does its best to break the internet - Irish Times, August, 2009
...As well as making hacking and computer fraud crimes, Thailand’s new cybercrime law insists that intermediaries are responsible for what happens on their corners of the internet. So if a person posts a defamatory comment on your website, you can be prosecuted and face jail. If a person connects to their local ISP to post an offensive video to YouTube, the ISP is criminally liable for this act...

Logs - July 28, 2009

As part of new government regulations to control and track internet usage (mainly related to porn, gambling and anti-monarchy websites and posts about these subjects on forums), internet traffic data must be archived for 90 days.
Here is an offer from KSC to handle the archiving--yet another financial burden for local businesses.


 

Thai censors blocking certain Google searches - July 10, 2009
For instance, searching these words together in Google returns a block page (above) on KSC: "translated country names"
A variety of words like "translated" in combination with "thai" are also blocked. However, searches on other search providers are not being blocked.


Censorship lifted on some websites - RSF, April 27, 2009

Thai website to protect the king - BBC News, February 5, 2009
The government in Thailand has set up a special website urging people to inform on anyone criticising the monarchy...

ProtecttheKing.net

Threats worry Thai Internet community - Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 2009

Is Thailand a new enemy of the Internet? - Reporters Without Borders, January 12, 2009

And then they came for me - The Sunday Leader, January 11, 2009
Interesting editorial from a Sri Lankan newspaper...

Censorship and madness in Thailand - UPI, January 8, 2009
...Then there are opinion pieces like the one in Matichon Daily last month urging friends or relatives of someone showing signs of listening to the king's critics to take the person promptly for psychological treatment...

Sacrava website officially blocked in Thailand for lèse-majesté: Thai DemoCRAZY? - KI, January 7, 2009
...It is quite a feat indeed for our Cambodian born artist!...

It appears that on many of the blocked sites, ICT is using the dishonest method of returning a 404 error instead of informing the user the site is blocked.

Right: Result of trying to access the Sacrava site via ISP KSC.


(Source: ICT website intro)

Thailand have blocked 2,300 websites for insulting monarchy : ICT - The Nation, January 6, 2009
Thai authorities have blocked 2,300 websites for allegedly insulting monarchy and are waiting for court approval to take action on another 400 websites....
On the forum: ICT Tentacles
ICT website

New government plans to step up online censorship - RSF, December 31, 2008
..."By trying to protect the king's image, the government is actually doing it harm and in some cases the charge of lese-majeste has been entirely inappropriate and unjustified," Reporters Without Borders said. "Australian author Harry Nicolaides was arrested exactly four months ago today and has been held in a Bangkok jail ever since on a lese-majeste charge for writing just two lines about a close relative of the king without even naming him. We reiterate our call for his release..."

New ICT minister vows to curb rogue websites - Bangkok Post, December 29, 2008
...The new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister has vowed to make it a priority to block websites insulting the monarchy.
Ranongrak Suwanchawee told senior ICT officials that most of the websites originated outside the country and would be blocked, as would sites considered obscene and those offering online games and gambling.
She said her predecessor in the post mistakenly believed that little could be done to control sites originating overseas...


2008 Thailand Blocklist Analysis - 1,303 new websites censored! - FACT, December 20, 2008
...While we may never learn the real extent of government Internet censorship, these blocklists provide us some perspective for analysis in the current ultra-Royalist social climate.
Typically, web censorship in Thailand is conducted in secret. We think there is a right to know inherent in a free society. We call for transparency and accountability in government and freedom of expression, freedom of communication and freedom of association as fundamental human rights.


Government reinforces online censorship in name of protecting king’s reputation - Reporters Without Borders, November 18, 2008
Reporters Without Borders condemns the Thai information ministry’s decision at the start of the month to spend up to 12 million euros on creating an Internet firewall to filter out websites deemed guilty of lese-majeste.
“The Thai government’s desire to control online content is indicative of the difficulties it is encountering in recovering some support,” Reporters Without Borders said. “As King Bhumipol Adulajey is very popular, being over-protective of his image is one of the ways the government is using to win over those calling for its overthrow...”

Govt to spend Bt100 mln to block offensive websites - Bangkok Post, October 28, 2008
The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plans to spend about 100 million to 500 million baht to build a gateway to block websites with contents defaming the royal institution...
According to the minister, thousands of the websites have been found to have information offending the monarchy, but they could not be revealed because internet users would visit them once they are known...

Reader Reports: PI banned in Thailand - Seattle Post Intelligencer, October, 2008

400 websites shut down - Bangkok Post, September 2, 2008
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry has detected more than 1,200 websites that violated the Computer Crime Act - of which 344 had content deemed insulting to the monarchy...

Internet data law goes into force Aug 23 - Bangkok Post, August 13, 2008
...Cyber offences, ranging from email forwarding of pornographic pictures to posting libellous messages on forums, are on the rise, Pol Col Yannapol said, but police agencies find it hard to gather the evidence to bring the perpetrators to justice.
He said internet cafes will also be required to collect information to identify computer users, such as ID cards, time of logging in and sites visited. Shops that fail to heed the rules will face fines up to 500,000 baht, he said.


Web-board user accused of lèse majesté for allegedly posting comments about Phufa shops - Prachatai, August 6, 2008
...The charge was filed by Monthani Tantisuk, a DJ/writer/translator, after both of them argued in the forum about her books on November 12, 2007.  According to Phisek, police came to see him at work on June 25, but refused to show him the alleged passages.  They just referred to the argument between an alias ‘Krobkrua Mafia (Mafia family)’, who made criticisms of Monthani’s translation works, and Monthani who claimed that her books were on sale at the Phufa outlets...

Thailand’s computer cops - gregtodiffer, August 1, 2008

Hi-Thaksin back as Thai-Grassroots.com - June 10, 2008
It seems that much of the content and graphics of the closed website Hi-Thaksin.com is back online at Thai-Grassroots.com. Hi-Thaksin.com voluntarily closed in the wake of the bad publicity following the April 25 PAD gathering at Thammasat University.

BBC reporter faces legal harassment in Thailand - CPJ, June 6, 2008
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the legal harassment of BBC correspondent Jonathan Head in Thailand. A high-ranking police official, Lt. Col. Wattanasak Mungkandee, has filed two separate criminal complaints alleging that the journalist insulted the monarchy—charges that Head and the BBC have called unfounded...

Lese-majeste accusations used to restrict freedom of expression - RSF, June 5, 2008
...In an interview for the “Khao Den Praden Ron” news programme on radio 96.5 MHz six days before, the minister was asked about bringing legal action against websites over content constituting lese-majeste. He replied: “Doing so will become a big scandal. We’d better suppress the news. Someone higher than me is of this opinion...”

Media rights group condemns Thai censorship in name of king - AFP, June 5, 2008
...
Reporters Without Borders accused politicians of manipulating the law for their own protection while claiming that they are defending the king.
"The targeted websites have not insulted the monarchy, they have criticised the (opposition) Democrat Party. Political parties are using the monarchy to legitimise their activities," the group said in a statement...


Tradition versus modernity keep Thai politics in turmoil - Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2008
[This article posits that the coup and current political turmoil is all about the succession.]
...The reality of the succession is that it will be decided by the royal Privy Council and the senior military officers. Parliament will only be called in later to approve what has been arranged.
The 2006 coup was launched after Thaksin started appointing his own loyalists to senior military positions and thus manoeuvring to influence the royal succession...

Exploring 29 websites alleged by Democrat Party to have lese majeste content - Prachatai, May 30, 2008

Two websites illegally blocked; twenty nine banned for discussion on monarchy - Prachatai/AHRC, May 28, 2008

On the forum: The 29 websites that could be blocked

Webmasters get warning - Bangkok Post, May 28, 2008
...Mr Chalerm said his ministry had worked closely with police to inspect the sites and found that 29 websites currently posted improper information. The sites would be shut down or blocked shortly.
He said 22 were based in Thailand while the others were overseas-based.
He said so far he has tracked down the webmasters of 27 sites and had talks with them to make them understand that releasing such inappropriate information via their websites was a legal offence, regardless of its origin.
Violators would be charged with conspiracy and punished under security-related laws, he said.


ICT Minister assures ISPs - no punishment for blocking offensive websites - Prachatai, May 22, 2008
...ICT Minister said that there had been an order from ‘high above’ not to block the websites and to allow the free flow of information, on the grounds that foreigners do not understand the blocking and may form negative perceptions.

Chalerm to invoke the security law to shut down 29 controversial websites - The Nation, May 20, 2008

Websites under police scrutiny - Content deemed to be critical of monarchy - Bangkok Post, May 20, 2008
...Pol Lt-Gen Rapipat was responding to a demand yesterday by the Democrat party that the government investigate and shut down 29 websites which allegedly published comments deemed unpleasant to the monarchy.
The party's assistant secretary-general, Thepthai Senpong, said an investigation found at least 29 websites with content insulting to the institution.


Censoring Free Speech in Thailand - Global Voices Online, May 17, 2008
...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...

ICT and TOT deny blocking Prachatai, saying possibly a technical error - Prachatai, May 15, 2008
...Today, TOT customers have also not been able to access www.sameskybooks.org. An employee of TOT later told Prachatai that the Same Sky website had lese majeste contents, but he did not know whether the ICT or the TOT had ordered the blocking...


"Prachatai" website is made inaccessible in several areas - Prachatai, May 15, 2008

DSI 'powerless' over YouTube's content - Bangkok Post, April 26, 2008
...The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has conceded it can do nothing about some of the content of the YouTube website considered as lese majeste and against the Thai monarchy, apart from seeking cooperation from the webmaster. Speaking at a seminar between the DSI and webmasters, Pol Col Yarnpol Yangyuen, the chief of the DSI's office of technology cases and examination centre, said YouTube is an international website based in another country, so the DSI cannot take legal action against it for lese majeste...


Hi-Thaksin website says 'bye' Thaksin - Bangkok Post, April 29, 2008

Finland police unblock Thai website - Facthai, February 22, 2008

YouTube and the rise of geolocational filtering - Opennet.net, March, 2008

ICT to 'hack & crack' foreign websites offensive to Thai supreme institution - Prachatai, March 17, 2008
A March 15 report in Krungthep Turakij newspaper quoted a source at the ICT that the ministry could pursue legal proceedings only with websites registered in Thailand, and is now planning a 'hack and crack' programme to hack offensive websites hosted abroad and delete their contents, because the legal process would take too long.
"This approach may be somewhat illegal, but sometimes it might be worth it, if [the websites] are really unacceptable," the source said.
One website registered abroad has been found to advertise merchandise including calendars, dolls, bags, hats, glasses, watches, trousers and underwear, all with a logo of the Buddha meditating on a lotus, with the face of a dog.  It was reported to have upset many Buddhists...

Fah Diew Kan website shut down

Website shut down over royal content - The Nation, January 6, 2008
..."Such censorship must be by court order only, and no application was made for one. This must be preceded by a letter of inquiry, not immediate closure. Furthermore, should an entire business be shut down because of private-individual posts to its site? Are the other websites hosted on the same server merely unimportant collateral damage?" the group said...

More cyberterrorism greets new year in Thailand - FACT, January 5, 2008

Thai free press needs your help! - visions.cz, January 5, 2008

Fah Diew Kan website shut down; lèse majesté alleged - Prachatai, January 5, 2008


From 2004: Survey of Fah Diaw Kan

Website censorship in Thailand - 2002-2007

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