30th April 2009. Thanks to Spoonbender
video sharing website
still blocked in Thailand. It was originally blocked at the same time that
YouTube was famously blocked. However veoh.com did not cause the same amount of
international embarassment so never go unblocked
30th April 2009. Based on
ISPs, TOT ADSL and Buddy Broadband along with Kasetsart University have been
Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand (FACT) since at least noon on
The Thai internet censors at MICT are currently blocking 6,218 websites
'affecting national security' which includes lese majeste, 2,307 pornographic
websites and 430 gambling websites, admitting to 8,955 blocked websites.
Red Siam Manifesto
15th February 2009. Based on
leading Bangkok-based professor who has joint British and Thai nationality fled
Thailand in the face of a lengthy sentence under the country's
draconian lese-majesty laws, which forbid criticism of the king.
Giles Ji Ungpakorn arrived in England at the weekend after being charged under
the laws. He had been due to present himself to the police in Bangkok today and
could have faced 15 years in jail if found guilty.
Ungpakorn has been blogging about the issue with a lengthy article called
the Red Siam Manifesto.
Aree Jiworarak, Director of the Information Technology Supervision Office
under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, sent e-mails
to executives of internet service providers (ISPs), saying that the Office had
found there was a publication disseminated on the internet called the Red Siam
Manifesto which affected national security.
He asked for their cooperation in keeping watch for the circulation of the
article. And if your systems can enable filters to prevent access to it,
please do so, as that would greatly benefit national security. Please act
The director also sent a list of web pages he deemed as constituting lèse
majesté, and asked the ISPs to block them urgently. Those included blogs
containing parts of the article.
7th February 2009. Based on
Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Official Censor of the
Military Coup, has blocked at least 17,775 websites which, along with
blocking by the Royal Thai Police, resulted in more than 50,000 websites blocked
in Thailand. Public webboard discussions, circumvention tools, voices from
Thailand’s Muslim South and critical commentary of Thailand’s monarchy were
particularly targetted for censorship.
Thailand’s military government also passed a Computer-Related Crimes Act with
draconian penalties and onerous data retention provisions abnegating privacy and
anonymity and chilling public discussion of vital issues among Thais. The result
of this cybercrime law was to criminalise circumvention with one notable
exception, the Virtual Private Networks (VPN) relied on by business to create a
secure, private, encrypted channel.
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has now
provided links to easy tools for private citizens to legally ignore
Thailand’s Internet censorship. Virtual Private Networks have been complicated
to set up and difficult to maintain. However, with these two free, public tools,
VPN is available to everyone.
Internet--once open and free--is fast morphing into one of Asia's more censored
cyberspaces. But a new group of concerned Thai citizens, known as the Thai
Netizen Network (TNN), is bidding to turn back the tide of government censorship
through advocacy and monitoring.
Web sites that have posted materials deemed potentially offensive to the Thai
royal family have been blocked by successive military-appointed and
democratically elected Thai governments. And the campaign of censorship is
accelerating under new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Beginning last year, a group of academics, activists, journalists and webmasters
held informal meetings to discuss the emerging threat to Internet freedom in the
wake of the passage of the 2007 Cyber Crime Act and the intensified use of lese
majeste charges against journalists, commentators, and everyday Internet users.
Both laws give Thai officials the authority to censor news and opinions that
could be deemed a threat to national security or the monarchy.
TNN coalesced into a formal organization soon after several local Web sites,
including news and commentary outlets Prachathai and Fah Diew Kan, were
threatened with closure last year by officials for posting materials offensive
to the monarchy. Fah Diew Kan's site was eventually blocked in January after
officials threatened the site's ISP administrator.
TNN coordinator Supinya Klangnarong told CPJ that the new group's main missions
are to keep Thailand's Internet open and free, to monitor government
surveillance and censorship, and to provide moral and legal support to Internet
users and writers who encounter harassment for their postings.
Currently, TNN is publicizing the case and arranging legal representation for
Suwicha Thakor, an oil-rig engineer who was arrested and held without bail on
January 14 for posting materials onto the Internet considered offensive to the
monarchy. They have also taken up the case of BBC correspondent Jonathan Head,
who faces three different lese majeste complaints filed by a senior Thai police
The War Room
6th February 2009. Based on
government in Thailand has set up a special website urging people to inform on
anyone criticising the monarchy.
It has also established a war room to co-ordinate the blocking of websites
deemed offensive to the monarchy. On its first day of operation the centre
banned nearly 5,000 websites. The Ministry of Information had already blocked
many thousands of sites, but that work is now being accelerated by the new
Internet users are being urged to show their loyalty to the king by informing
via a new website called protecttheking.net (Thai language), which has been
set up by a parliamentary committee. It calls on all citizens to inform on
anyone suspected of insulting or criticising the monarchy.
The new website appears to be part of a concerted effort by the government and
its conservative supporters to stifle any debate on the future of the
monarchy, before it can gather momentum, our correspondent says.
The committee formalized the Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC),
formerly known as the ‘War Room’, to monitor inappropriate content on the
internet, with officials from the ICT Ministry and other relevant agencies
keeping watch 24 hours a day. A special call centre is being set up for the
public to give information on inappropriate websites.
In the ISOC room, staff will be divided into three sections to monitor
three categories of inappropriate websites: (1) those which offend the nation,
religion, and monarchy, (2) those which affect tradition and culture, such as
Hi5, or advertise abortion pills, and (3) those which provide gambling and
dangerous online games such as the GTA game, said the ICT Minister.
According to the minister, the MICT has requested court orders to close or
block 4,818 URLs which include 4,683 web pages offensive to the monarchy, 98
pages offering pornography, and 37 pages containing false advertisements.
The MICT and the Ministry of Culture have also been monitoring the postings of
pictures of female students with phone numbers for the purpose of
prostitution, and have found an increase in online advertisements for abortion
pills and sex gear.
Targeted at Cambodia but blocked in
CPJ lay into Thailand's
deteriorating media climate
3rd February 2009. See
former freelance editorial cartoonist for Far Eastern Economic Review from
1997-1999, Bun Heang Ung presently lives in Australia. Observing his home
country Cambodia from the other side, the 57-year-old cartoonist launched
Toons blog in 2004, nearly a decade after he published The Murderous
Revolution : Life and Death in Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, his first book of black
and white line illustrations that tells his very own experiences of the Khmer
Rouge regime. In voicing his opinions, the talented cartoonist publish his
drawings of all things that matter to him on the Web.
Recently, according to Wikileaks, the political cartoonist’s blog is being
blocked in Thailand, where its Ministry of Information and Communication
Technology is in charge of banning Internet sites that violates its Kingdom’s
lèse majesté laws.
2nd February 2009. Based on
Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about mounting
government threats to media and Internet freedom in Thailand, including legal
action against community radio stations and censoring thousands of Web sites.
Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga recently told a parliamentary
session that his ministry intends to censor 3,000 to 4,000 Web sites for
posting materials considered offensive to the Thai monarchy. The Information
Communication and Technology (ICT) Ministry announced on January 5 that it had
shut down 2,300 Web sites for violating the country's strict lese majeste
Piraphan said that he had established 10 different panels to implement the
Internet crackdown and that his ministry was working closely with the ICT and
Defense ministries. He mentioned in particular that three Thai nationals had
been identified for posting anti-monarchy materials on the Web site Manussaya
and that one of the writers has been arrested on lese majeste charges.