updated 19th March
Up to War Crimes
Civil rights activists and movie buffs have hailed a decision to show a
harrowing film in Belgrade about a Bosnian rape victim. They greeted the
premiere as a sign that Serbs are becoming more willing to acknowledge
the extent of war crimes committed in Serbia's name in the Nineties.
By contrast, nervous distributors in the Bosnian Serb entity, the
Republika Srpska, RS, refused to show the film at all, citing fears of
Grbavica, by the Sarajevo director Jasmila Zbanic, and winner of
this year's Berlin film festival, had its first screening in Belgrade on
The film about a Bosnian Muslim who gave birth to a child after being
raped in a Serbian detention camp won a standing ovation in the Serbian
capital, in spite of its deeply controversial theme.
Zbanic made no apologies for the unequivocally political message of her
film, saying she hoped it would remind moviegoers of the fate of
thousands of Bosnian women raped during the 1992 to 1995 war.
After winning the Berlin prize, she expressly pointed out that the two
men in charge of the Bosnian Serb war effort, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko
Mladic, remained at large. Zbanic's comments created more uproar in the
RS capital Banja Luka and in Belgrade than the film's provocative
Oscar Film Private Enterprise, the only film distributor in the RS,
decided not to show Grbavica. The company's director, Vlado
Ljevar, said after the film was shown to a test audience of about 40,
they concluded that a screening would be counterproductive and would not
be economically viable. We don't want to screen a film that would
provoke Serbs and cause a revolt, while we would stand to make no money
from it, said Ljevar.
Dragica Banjac, a professor in Banja Luka's economics faculty, said she
was angry she would not be able to judge the film's merits for herself:
I feel offended as a citizen, just as I am offended that no one has
spoken out against this form of censorship.
By contrast, a defiant atmosphere attended the first screening in
Belgrade, where filmgoers, civil society activists, actors and
filmmakers gathered in force. A clutch of hard-line nationalists who
tried to disrupt the projection, shouting "Serbia" and "traitors", was
quickly ejected. When Svetlana Petrusic, a former journalist, attempted
to read out a written statement condemning the film, security guards
whisked her off.
Biased Reporting on the
I thought I like to comment on the story about Serbia and what's been
reported on the press. I must say the report is biased and I thought I
share some links with you. I in no way support dictators but I do
believe in both sides of the coin and unfortunately what I been reading
about Serbia is one sided trash cooked up by the corporate media owned
by the likes of Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch and the BBC controlled by
Blair's elite these days.
I thought I share some links with you to get a better understanding in
a site based on the dictator however
there are some things that I think you should see what the media
over has not shown yet
The emporers new
clothes by Jared Israel
of the province of Serbia which is their Babylon now in ruins due to
Al Queda backed Albanian terrorists
www.truthinmedia.org/truthinmedia/index.html by Bob Djodjevic
This is an article I think you should definitely see since when I
saw the story, it turns out it is about Kosovo's mineral wealth like
oil and rare metals the territory contains that is why Albania wants
so badly with the backing of the USA.
All I am saying is see the links and judge for yourself since I
believe there is more than meets the eye.
As a Greek Cypriot with Greek ancestry, Kosovo of Serbia and Cyprus
share a common problem and that is the expansion of a state to control
another country's land. Turkey with Cyprus by trying to add Cyprus to
its own. Albania by trying to add Kosovo to its own and worse still add
Skopia (FYROM) and parts of Northern Greece.
Both Greeks and Serbs have been demonised by the media in the west and I
think it is high time people know the truth what is really happening in
the Balkans for a change since there is so much ignorance about the
Also what do I think about Cyprus rejecting the 'Annan Plan' backed by
Blair and Bush you might ask? Obviously the plan is scam it is about the
oil and is about controlling the continental shelf of the Mediterranean
and that the plan breaches human rights and international law so stuff
their so called solution on Cyprus Blair and Bush can get lost.
Again a link on the matter:
updated 28th March
| XXX Episode 27
Sydney Morning Herald
The issue of whether or not the world needs a virtual red-light district
will be on the agenda when ICANN's meets again this month in Wellington,
ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and
Numbers, and is a US non-profit organisation that oversees top level
domain names like .com on behalf of the US government.
The creation of an .xxx domain was proposed in recent years to take the
place of .com in move strongly promoted by the adult entertainment
industry in the hope of improving traffic flow to legitimate adult sites
and dramatically easing filtering requirements for other domains.
However the online red-light district has suffered a number of setbacks
under growing opposition. Those contesting it have concerns over the
legitimisation of pornographic material, especially in countries where
standards might substantially differ from norms in the western world.
Although ICANN's board originally voted in favour of creating the .xxx
domain in August last year, a final decision was put on hold after the
reciept of a letter from Michael Gallagher, Assistant Secretary at the
US Commerce Department, saying he had received nearly 6000 letters and
emails expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families
and children and urging further debate.
Approval for the domain was then deferred to a board meeting of ICANN
last December, however it was again delayed to allow more time for
Some have declared this evidence that ICANN is bowing to pressure from
the US government, a topic that was loomed large at the recent World
Summit on Information Society in Tunis late last year where governance
of the Internet was the subject of strong debate.
The .xxx issue will be firmly back on the agenda in Wellington with a
Government Advisory Committee expected to present its findings at the
conference and "further discussions" among international delegates to
XXX: A bit of
the old in and out and in again
A bill introduced on March 16 in the U.S. Senate seeks to require all
commercial websites that provide “material that is harmful to minors” to
register and operate within a Top Level Domain set aside specifically
for that purpose.
Sponsored by Sens. Max Baucus (Democrat) and Mark Pryor (Democrat), the
“Cyber Safety for Kids Act of 2006” mandates that the International
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers establish the new
international TLD and have it operational within 90 days of the
enactment of the bill. The Secretary of Commerce will be empowered to
devise and enforce regulations for the operation of the TLD, and will be
responsible for imposing civil penalties on any Web publishers who do
not abide by the regulations. Under the legislation, companies that fail
to register in the new domain within six months of the establishment of
the new TLD would be subject to civil penalties.
According to the bill, which is not expected to be addressed by the
Senate until after it returns from a weeklong recess that begins March
20, The term ‘material that is harmful to minors’ means any
communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording,
writing, or other matter of any kind that is obscene or that a
reasonable person would find…with respect to minors, is designed to
appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient interest; depicts,
describes, or represents, in a patently offensive manner with respect to
minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, an actual
or simulated normal or perverted sexual act, or a lewd exhibition of the
genitals or post-pubescent female breast; and taking the material as a
whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
Although the bill does not specifically use the term “pornography,” it’s
clear from the language that online adult entertainment is exactly what
the bill seeks to control. It’s also clear from the language that it is
an attempt to approach certain now-enjoined requirements of the Child
Online Protection Act from a different angle, according to First
Amendment attorney J.D. Obenberger.
XXX: Filtered Out Again
The United States Government has blocked a plan to create a red-light
district in cyberspace.
Icann, the worldwide body that manages the internet, had been expected
to approve website addresses ending in ".xxx" at an international
meeting under way in Wellington, but it is understood it will not now
vote on the proposal.
Canadian firm ICM Registry has spent five years and $US2.5 million
campaigning for the right to manage.xxx web addresses, for which it
would charge $US60 each.
Chairman Stuart Lawley said he was disappointed, but it was not
realistic to expect a decision on.xxx in Wellington.
The US Commerce Department - which created Icann as an independent body
to take over its management of the domain name system - raised concerns
about proposed mechanisms for managing .xxx websites. But Lawley said he
believed it was a "deliberate delaying tactic". Lawley said this was the
third time the US Government had delayed .xxx addresses, and blamed the
influence of religious conservatives in the US that appear to have
access to the powers that be.
Lawley estimates there are four million adult websites, owned by 100,000
ICM Registry is not directly involved in the adult Internet industry,
but has made no bones that it wants to make money selling .xxx
The company has won some support for its argument that setting up the
red-light zone in cyberspace would make it easier to filter out adult
websites so they could not be seen accidentally or by children.
Liz Butterfield, executive director of New Zealand's nonprofit Internet
Safety Group, said .xxx was potentially positive and saw no reason why
such addresses should not be allowed. But she said she doubted the
addressing system would stop many adult website owners using other
Internet addresses, such as .com. I think you have got to be
realistic about what it would achieve
Updated 14th March
Bali Bothered by Burkha
Also see the campaigning website at
About 1,000 protesters here greeted a visiting delegation of legislators
deliberating the Indonesian pornography bill by threatening to organize
acts of civil disobedience if it becomes law. We designed the rally
to underline the open and tolerant nature of Balinese culture. That's
the reason why the rally is filled with traditional art performances and
music concerts, the rally's chief organizer, I Gusti Ngurah Harta,
A regional youth leader, who met with the House group, also warned that
Bali would secede from Indonesia if the bill took effect. If this
bill is passed, we won't hesitate to leave the Republic of Indonesia,
Bali branch head of the Indonesian National Youth Committee, I Putu Gede
Indriawan Karna, said to applause as quoted by detik.com.
Protesters came from all walks of life, numbering community activists,
academics and ordinary citizens. There has been widespread opposition to
the bill, which critics say goes too far in taking a moralistic approach
to clamp down on pornographic materials and obscene acts, which would
also include public displays of affection. Women's rights activists fear
women are particularly vulnerable to its misuse, while some ethnic
groups, such as the Balinese and Papuans, have nudity as part of their
Balinese arts and religious beliefs have never considered sensuality
and sexuality as an impure, morally reprehensible thing. Instead,
sensuality and sexuality are treated as natural, integral parts of our
lives as human beings, another rally organizer, Cok Sawitri, said.
In the past, Balinese women never wore a bra, yet the custom did not
turn the society into a sex-craving, pornographically demented
A participant in the meeting with the legislators said they reminded
them that Indonesia was not a monolithic state where one group could
impose its values on the rest.
The bill has blatantly ignored the fact that Indonesia comprises
hundreds of ethnic groups with different cultural values and religious
beliefs. The bill, which represents the moral values and belief of one
single group, has the potential to cause the disintegration of the
state, I Gusti Putu Artha said.
Women's rights activist Luh Anggraeni said the bill discriminated
against women. It is as if the woman is the only party responsible
for the nation's moral decadence. Most of the prohibitive articles in
the bill are directed at women.
Participants also said the passage of the bill would inflict irreparable
damage on the local tourism industry, the island's economic backbone,
already hobbled by a downturn in visitors from two separate bombings in
the last four years.
There is an associated Internet campaign site aptly named Jiwa Merdeka
(literally meaning "free soul"). The site,
http://jiwamerdeka.blogspot.com, has been in operation since Feb.
On the site, people can read or download various texts, including the
controversial bill, the Bali delegation's opposition statement and a
list of the notable figures, who support the opposition, in addition to
an enlightening paper on pornography by Prof. Dr. I Made Bandem. Most of
the texts are still in Indonesian buy they are in the process of
translating the key documents to English.
The site has already found an "Internet buddy" and ardent supporter in
http://electronposts.blogspot.com. This blog has explicitly and
openly voiced support for Jiwa Merdeka and the struggle against the
bill. Most of its recent graphic posts were dealing with this issue. The
latest one portrayed an image of a human torso with an uncovered navel
and a question: What's wrong with allowing my belly button to have a
peek of reality?
Well, it must be so wrong that the law will impose a hefty fine up to Rp
1 billion (over US$100,000) and a prison sentence up to ten years for
Navel Gazing in Bali
Based on an article from the
Following a visit by legislators to Bali, Batam and Papua to gauge
public opinion on the pornography bill, it's still a guessing game
whether there will be major changes to the controversial bill.
While House of Representatives special committee chairman Balkan Kaplale
promised people in Batam there would be major changes to the draft of
the bill, legislator Rustam E. Tamburaka said in Bali that there may
be some exceptions in the bill for Bali and Papua.
Members of the House committee returned Sunday from their visit to the
provinces from where people had raised objections to the bill. A group
of Balinese earlier told legislators how eroticism and sensuality were
part of their culture.
In a meeting with several groups in Batam, Nutter Balkan had previously
asked the participants to contemplate the timeliness of the bill, saying
that a series of recent natural disasters and tragedies that hit
Indonesia were "a warning from God". This bill is a part of our
efforts to strengthen the moral fiber of the nation, some of which has
been damaged, the nutter of the Democrat Party said, referring to
prostitution, human trafficking and the representation of women in adult
magazines and tabloids.
Balkan added that of 167 groups and individuals invited by the committee
to discuss the bill, only 22 rejected it, including well-known figures
from the art world. However, he was at a loss for words when a number of
participants bombarded him with questions.
One participant raised concerns that he would be arrested when going
online to view a painting of a nude woman by Italian artist
Michelangelo. Others questioned the possible arrest of athletes, who
wear shorts or miniskirts, and models sporting revealing clothing in
Balkan only replied that the draft of the bill, containing 11 chapters
and 93 articles, would see major changes during an upcoming deliberation
on the bill next week.
However Balkan's colleague, Rustam, said in Denpasar there would be
possible exceptions in the implementation of the bill in Bali and Papua
due to their unique cultural traditions. Both regions deserve
consideration, he said amid a colorful protest against the bill.
The Golkar Party legislator said that the bill would respect the Papuan
tradition of wearing the koteka (penis sheath) as well as foreign
tourists who sunbathe in bikinis, because it is the tradition they
bring from their countries. Balinese artists are also allowed to
make nude sculptures or paintings, he added. Rustam added that
legislators may scrap articles on penalties, which reach billions of
rupiah, but did not elaborate.
Balinese legislator of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said
that she was opposed to the bill despite the fact that she was a member
of the committee. It is useless for the government to discuss such a
bill which displeases so many people, because it would waste time and
money, she said.
From Asia Media
The Indonesian House of Representatives should exercise extra caution
before passing the pornography bill into law because many of its
contentious articles have not been resolved, a respected Muslim cleric
Cleric Mustofa Bisri of the 40-million-strong Nahdlatul Ulama said
legislators should listen to the opinions of many people from a variety
of backgrounds and faiths before passing the bill into law:
should accommodate as many people's aspirations as possible.
Mustofa said the bill contained no clear-cut definition of
pornography. The existing vague definition could allow multiple
interpretations and cause confusion and conflict, he said.
The content of the draft bill is currently being disseminated in
selected provinces before it is passed. Particularly controversial
articles in the law involve regulations on public dress and restrictions
on nudity in the media and art. If the bill became law, women who bare
their shoulders or legs or artists who include nudity in their work
could be prosecuted for indecency and could be jailed or fined up to Rp
2 billion (US$217,503).
Strongest opposition to the bill has come from predominantly Hindu Bali,
where nudity in certain contexts is an accepted part of the island's art
and culture. Balinese also worry that tourism could be affected by the
law -- with holidaymakers forbidden from wearing revealing swimming
Balinese protesters have threatened to seek independence from Indonesia
if the bill is passed as is. Opposition has also been voiced in Papua,
another place where there are few cultural prohibitions on nudity, and
in Batam, where tourism plays an important part in the island's economy.
Women's groups and artists throughout the country are also against the
bill, which they say intrudes on personal privacy, curtails creativity
and criminalizes women for their sexuality.
Mustofa criticized some Muslim groups that were trying to push the law
through the House without proper consultation. The pressure was: a
manifestation of panic from Muslims who have no self-confidence.
It seems that certain Muslims are so worried about globalization and are
unable to deal with it that they are resorting to speedily passing this
First drawn up in 1999, the bill had been shelved until last year when
it was revived after pressure from Muslim-based parties concerned about
what they perceived was the moral degradation of the nation.
A House legislator said the bill showed tolerance for pluralism was
waning in this multi-religious and multicultural society. Sidharto
Danusubroto of the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle said pluralism
was under threat as long the pornography bill existed in its present
form: There are certain groups who are forcing their ideology on
Entertainment and tourism businesspeople in Batam have also now
expressed their concerns over the controversial pornography bill
following a meeting with a House special committee, but received little
assurance their worries would be addressed.
At the meeting with the committee from the House of Representatives on
Saturday, the businesspeople raised fears the bill, if passed into law,
would have a negative impact on the island's tourism and entertainment
sectors, as well as restrict people's freedom of expression.
Deputy head of investment and promotion at the Batam Chamber of Commerce
and Industry (Kadin), Jadi Rajagukguk, said: The draft bill is like
the seed of a disease, and will make foreign tourists afraid to come to
Jadi said that even before the bill had been passed into law, Barelang
Police had started warning shops against selling revealing clothing and
women not to wear such clothing in public, causing concern among the
community. We heard that one shop opted to close after being warned
by the police, and there are many shoppers at the malls who fear that
the way they dress might cause the police to target them.
Opposition to Burkha Beachwear
At the forefront of the parties in parliament supporting the Burkha
Beachwear bill is the Justice and Welfare Party (PKS), which has strong
Islamic fundamentalist perspectives.
Other parties have vacillated or refused to take a clear stand on the
law during the past year, but are being increasingly pressured to either
reject or revise the bill. Politicians from the more mainstream
political parties have come out in opposition to the bill. Both members
of parliament from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P),
as well as its chairperson Megawati Sukarnoputri, have now stated their
opposition to the law.
What appears to have tipped the balance in the world of elite
politics is increasing fear of a threat to cultural pluralism in a
society that has no single dominant cultural perspective.
Now former Golkar chairperson Akbar Tanjung has weighed in against the
bill, arguing that there can be no national law that cannot be
implemented in specific provinces. However it is not clear whether these
mainstream parties will reject the bill or simply soften it. Vivi
Widyawati, from Women’s Freedom in Jakarta, told Green Left Weekly that
the campaign against the bill has created quite a polemic and is
forcing pressure for revision. But it is not looking good for getting
the bill stopped given the ambivalent stand of most of the parties.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has remained silent, emboldening the
PKS and other supporters of the bill. Yudhoyono’s party, the Democrat
Party, has so far supported the UUAPP.
There are strong fears that the passing of the bill will open the way
for greater oppression of women. Even before it has passed, said
Widyawati, there have been repressive actions. In some areas, raids
and arrests have already started ... This is hitting poor women
particular hard. For example, in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta,
they have instituted a curfew for women. Three women were arrested and
fined. In other areas, the sense that the law will be passed has
emboldened local governments to decree the wearing of Muslim dress for
women. Local governments have issued regulations against
prostitution, under which women have been detained and sentenced simply
because they were out alone at night.
In the island of Batam, just 20 minutes from Singapore by ferry, there
have been increasing raids on shopping malls where women have been
warned about wearing “provocative” clothes, such as sleeveless tops. In
Aceh, there have been arrests of women walking with men who were not
their husbands or relatives.
Not all Islamic groupings are supporting the bill. Various Islamic
figures from the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the organisation that former
President Abdurrahman Wahid headed for 20 years, have called on the bill
to be revised and have criticised the stand taken by other Muslim
organisations. One such cleric, Mustofa Bisri, was quoted in the Jakarta
Post on March 6 as saying that some Muslim groups were attempting to
push the law through parliament without proper consultation.
Islamic student organisations, such as the Indonesian Islamic Student
Union (PMII) and the Association of NU Young Men and Women (IPPNU) have
also outright rejected the bill.
Meanwhile lawmakers actually drafting the controversial pornography bill
plan to do it in secret away from the critical eye of the media at an
undisclosed hotel in Puncak, some 60 kilometers south of Jakarta.
Members of the special committee are tasked with listing contentious
issues before the bill is submitted to a joint House of
Representatives-ministerial committee for further scrutiny.
Legislator Balkan Kaplale of the Democratic Party, who chairs the
committee, said "biased" reporting on the legislation only added fuel to
the controversy: The media tends to run stories favoring those
opposing the bill. This is unfair, he said at a meeting with Muslim
activists who support the draft law.
Legislator Chairunnisa of the Golkar Party said the special team would
hear opinions from 10 major political factions about the draft law. It
will be the first time the House factions present their formal stances
on the bill. So far, the only party that openly supports the bill is the
Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS):Each faction is expected
to submit a list of articles they deem contentious, Chairunnisa
Next week, they are expected to produce a list of the contentious
articles and submit it along with the bill to the government. President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will then read the bill and appoint several
Cabinet ministers to work with the legislators on redrafting it before
it is submitted to the House for debate. The President can reject the
bill at this stage, sending it back to the initial House drafting team,
although his approval is normally a formality.
Indonesia on the Brink of
The pornography bill will focus on pornographic materials and their
distribution, and do away with the vague definitions on content and
personal conduct, the chairman of the House committee deliberating the
bill said Monday.
Balkan Kaplale told The Jakarta Post that while there were disagreements
among the committee members, they agreed that the bill should target
curbing the distribution of pornographic materials: Pornographic
products could be in the form of films, video cassettes, pictures
printed and broadcast by mass media.
However, his deputy, Agung Sasongko of the Indonesian Democratic Party
of Struggle (PDI-P), said he walked out of an earlier committee meeting
because it was not possible to begin redrafting the bill with input from
the public still pouring in.
The PDI-P, the party which has expressed the most vocal opposition to
the bill and controls 109 of 550 House seats, has requested a delay of
at least six months from the committee's deadline for passage in April.
The executive director of the Center for Indonesian Law and Policy
Studies, Bivitri Susanti, also urged legislators to focus on strict
regulation of the distribution of pornography and the porn industry,
instead of dealing with clamping down on obscene acts.
From Asia Media
Contentious clauses in the pornography bill, which has been assailed
for encroaching on personal rights, will be dismantled as deliberations
enter a critical stage, a House leader said.
Balkan Kaplele, the legislator and chairman of the special committee
finalizing the bill, refused to specify which articles would be
rewritten, but said the law would focus on general definitions of
pornography and obscenity: We've taken quite a number of
controversial clauses off the bill, particularly those which criminalize
particular conduct. However, legislators are set to redefine the
term pornography, considered vague and subject to varied interpretations
under the bill.
The bill, initially proposed in 1999 and officially titled the
Anti-Pornography and Pornographic Acts Bill, has gained its strongest
support from orthodox Muslim groups. Thousands gathered Sunday at Al-Azhar
mosque in South Jakarta to urge the government to quickly pass the bill
Balkan's promise of major changes followed an announcement Friday by the
Golkar Party and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the
two largest factions in the House, that they would strive to ensure it
Another expected change is the removal of a clause on the establishment
of an agency to oversee the implementation of standards of decency.
Balkan said the task would be entrusted to the police: All breaches
of the law on pornography and obscenity will be dealt with using the
Criminal Code and relevant laws, while the police will have the
authority to oversee the enforcement.
Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin, who hosted the discussion, said
the country needed a pornography law to "reverse the situation" of an
increasingly liberal society: We are concerned by the moral
liberalization that will lead the nation to the brink of collapse,
unless it is stopped as soon as possible.
Presidential Dressing Down
Legislation proposed by Muslim legislators to ban pornography and
obscene acts in Indonesia will not affect whether scantily-clad tourists
can sunbathe on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia's vice president
Jusuf Kalla was responding to fears among members of the island's Hindu
enclave that the bill would have a chilling effect on its tourist
industry by criminalizing sunbathing, as well as being incompatible with
its Hindu culture.
Do not worry, we (the government) don't agree (with everything in the
bill), Kalla told tourist chiefs on the island.
I am sure if it
is passed, it will not wreck your rights. All the political parties are
listening to your complaints.
Rallying for Obscene Law
About a thousand Muslims rallied in Indonesia's capital on Sunday to
support a proposed law banning pornography and obscene acts .
The protesters, including many women and young children, chanted "We
refuse pornography!" as they gathered under gloomy skies in Jakarta to
press parliament to pass the bill, which is supported by conservative
Islamic politicians and preachers.
Those who only see this issue from a human rights, liberal and
secular point of view are trying to disrupt efforts to curb pornography,
said Ma'ruf Amin, a member of Indonesia's council of clerics.
|| Cyber Snitches
Based on an article from
The Thai Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT) is
taking another crack at banishing pornography from the country, this
time by using hundreds of cyber snitches and closed-circuit television (CCTV)
in post offices.
Just a few months after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that the
government would begin to shift its focus to an agenda aimed at curing
social ills, including pornography, ICT Minister Sora-at Klinpratoom
said earlier this week that today will see the start of an initiative
that will be executed by hundreds of employees and backed by tougher
regulations, with the aim of ensuring that the country’s decency laws
The ICT has been blocking illegal websites for years, but, according to
a spokesman, it has been nearly impossible to stop people from
surfing illegal sites, due to the open nature of internet
communication technology and the proliferation of websites with obscene
content. The ministry estimates that there are more than one million
websites with content that violates the law, and these pornographic
websites get about one million hits from inside Thailand every day, Sora-at
So far, the ICT has gathered a list of fewer than 2,000 websites with
content that is deemed illegal, and has requested that internet service
providers (ISPs), such as CAT Telecom (CAT), True and CS Loxinfo, block
their users from accessing the sites.
Most internet users access the web through a handful of licensed service
providers, all of whom can filter out material from banned websites,
said a spokesman at CAT. Every [ISP] has a proxy server and all data
go through that server before they appear on subscribers’ computers,
he said. So, it is easy for ISPs to filter content. Users usually don’t
even know about the filtration process, as banned sites will often come
up with normal error messages or “request denied” pages, he said.
The ministry spokesman said that, although they are difficult to breach,
filters can stop access to specified websites only, and the ICT has not
yet been able to identify every website which violates Thai law.
To get around the problem, the ministry has employed hundreds of
so-called “cyber inspectors,” who scour the internet to identify
websites with nudity or other obscene material. The ICT has its own
website, where citizens can report potentially illegal web content, and
it recently began giving away parental control software.
Starting today, the ministry is sponsoring a radio show which parents
can call to report illegal websites and receive advice on how to monitor
their children’s internet usage. It has installed a telephone hotline
and is monitoring post office boxes to catch people who send printed
pornography through the mail.
People can rent post office boxes, but they don’t have to register
their names, [and] so, they can use them to send [pornographic] DVDs,
books [and] CDs. Starting [today], everyone has to register to have a
post office box number, and we will soon have CCTV in some post offices,
the ministry spokesman said.
The ministry does not have an estimate of the number of people it
suspects of viewing online pornography, but if internet porn is as
widespread as estimated by Sora-at, the government’s efforts to block
websites will have little impact, said telecommunications analysts, who
expressed doubt over the government’s ability to stop people from
accessing online pornography sites, even with the new policies and the
cooperation of ISPs.