Censorship in action

The government of Thailand has stopped access to online video-sharing website YouTube.com. This ban was implemented when Google refused to remove a video clip from the site that seemed to mock the king of Thailand.

Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said that he has given out an order to ban the entire site from Thailand, as Google did not heed to removing the alleged slanderous content.

“Since Google has rejected our repeated requests to withdraw the clip, we can’t help blocking the entire site in Thailand,” said Sitthichai.

“When they decide to withdraw the clip, we will withdraw the ban,” he said.

YouTube aired a 44-second clip ridiculing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch, who is revered by all 63 million Thais.

This acting government is doing more damage than good. Firstly banning any political parties and now going beyond what is democratic. It does worry me about the way Thailand is heading, from a political point of view they really are making it hard for anyone to take this caretaker government seriously.

14 Comments so far

  1. gnarlykitty (unregistered) on April 6th, 2007 @ 1:39 am

    u gotta love thailand


  2. geomark (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    Not all speech is protected, even in the U.S.

    What if someone in Thailand posted a video threatening the U.S. president? That is not illegal in Thailand. But it is illegal in the U.S. So YouTube would probably remove it.

    A video insulting the monarchy is illegal in Thailand. That’s the law. It has nothing to do with the current government. YouTube won’t remove it. So the Thai government blocks YouTube, and doesn’t give the crude person who posted it the audience they want.


  3. Daniel (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 3:42 pm

    The current US administration isn’t the best example to use when talking about democracy. Bu$h has done everything in his power to ensure a fully autonomous power base, even when the public have voted against him.

    In doing what the Thai government did, they have given the crude video even more strength and popularity as when anything is banned, people will want to see it for themselves.

    Rather than contact google and have the individual video banned, they went the whole hog and banned the site.

    As for threatening a bully, is that a bad thing :p


  4. geomark (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

    True, the U.S. may no longer be the yardstick by which to measure these things. But it still is the first to criticise when *somebody else* restricts certain freedoms.

    According to the ICT minister they did contact Google and of course Google refused to remove the illegal (in Thailand) video.

    It would be interesting to see what would happen if the tables were turned. A video sharing site owned by a Thai company has a video posted threatening the bully. It’s not illegal in Thailand; here it is free speech. But it is illegal in the U.S.; it’s one form of speech that is not protected. What would the action by the U.S. goverment be?


  5. Daniel (unregistered) on April 9th, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

    Google is in a hard place at the moment, they already got enough crap for the censorship they did for Google China, and i think with this one they decided 1 video did not warrant them removing it, as in reality it was not that harsh (I feel the book “The King Never Smiles is far more critical of the King and was rightly banned in Thailand, but this video was pathetic to be honest)

    I think we have all seen how the US reacts to anyone “attacking” them, they would use the maximum amount of force to get it taken down.

    Both sides screwed up, and the only winner was the video creator who has been given a larger platform


  6. Jack (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

    Daniel,

    Freedom of speech has to come with respect of different in culture and tradiion.

    Perhaps this is why the Bush administration has got themselves into such a mess in Iraq , it is due to such stupidity and ignorance, to think that the American way of thinking is the “ONLY” way of thinking.

    In Thai tradition, there is a saying that ” we don’t back back to a dog” , what good does it do ?

    Jack


  7. Jack (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

    :-) By the way, it would be nice to have the spell check. I was going to say ” In Thai tradition, we do have a saying that we don’t bark back to a dog..


  8. Daniel (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

    Jack,

    I’m with you on the US, don’t think i condone what they do. My point was that the current state of affairs in Thailand is actually driving the country back 10 years or more.

    I understand the tradition you talk about, but also wonder how far the sabaai sabaai mentality goes when dealing with poltics?

    :0)


  9. Jack (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 5:46 pm

    Daniel,

    It is very good debating point you open. Personally I think Thailand is not in the regression but rather in the trasition state. I have seen the nation survived the chaos and learnt from it in the past ( i.e. Oct 1976 , May 1992, June 1997 ) and I believe the nation will go through it again this time.

    You must remember that Thailand has been under Democracy for only 70 years something, compared with England for overs 200 years of Democracy experiences ( in parliament system that is).

    Country is like human, it needs to go through several learning curves in order to grow up.

    This is the reason why I feel what happening now does not put anything back 10 years as you feel, but rather something we have to go though in order to go one step forward.

    As for the Sa bai Sa bai attitude, Thai people has , over the time, learnt their rights and they now know better when their rights are being violated, either by the the local politics itself or by the foreigner who has no respect of Thai value.

    I do not have the specific answer of how far it will go, but knowledge of Thai history tells me that , despite the sabai sabai reputation, never underestimate how ‘serious’ the Thai can be.

    Ask the group of dictators who got kicked out in May 1992 , or the group of corrupted politicians who were not welcome back to power again after the financial crisis in June 1997, they should know all too well about the consequence of underestimating the ‘sabai sabai’ attitude.

    :-)


  10. Jack (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 5:50 pm

    By the way, Daniel, do you happen to know where do I start if I want to become a writer in this blog?

    ta


  11. ann (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

    freedom of speech has its limited and all, and i agree that the video of such material needs to be banned.

    but youtube is a video sharing website that has over 100million clips served each day… banning total access to it, is, i have to agree with daniel’s first point… regressing.

    we dont’ have to bark back to a dog, but we don’t usually lock the dogs up (as seen everywhere on the streets of bangkok), we just let it be.


  12. Jack (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

    Ann,

    I feel you may have been misinformed of what really did happen.

    Firstly, the ban of entire youtube website only took place after the Thai minister has “democratically” asked google to be more understanding of Thai value and repect the difference in our culture , and take the clip off the site.

    Google , however, refused to take off the clip, claiming that it is down to the so called Freedom of speech, that Google has no need to respect any value that is not in Google best interest.

    The Thai auhtority was left with no option but to ban the entire website as banning only one clip is not technically possible.

    Do these processes of sequences sound like the act of regressing act to you, Ann ?

    By the way, you only let the dog bark when it only barks. But I am certain you would do something to stop the dog if the dog attempts to attack your parents , would you ?

    His majesty is the father of all Thai, would you let anyone disrepect your father and say “let it be” , Ann ? :-)

    With all the respects to all difference of opinions. I merely am trying to draw the picture of how hurt we are, as the nation.


  13. jeremy (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

    i agree with what you’re saying which is unlike most of the reaction on the internet.

    there are most certainly some videos that are illegal in america- and in fact youtube deletes these in great frequency.

    it’s the issue of not responding to what is illegal in other countries that is the core issue here. it wouldn’t be too difficult to prevent access to the videos from all ip addresses originating in thailand- that would solve the issue but of course create additional administrative costs on the part of youtube.

    this isn’t the first time this has happened- in turkey youtube was banned due to videos posted that were insulting to turkish people in general. finally youtube relented and removed the videos.

    ultimately it will have to be youtube that decides how it handles videos that are illegal in other countries. if not then it risks similar bannings elsewhere.


  14. Jack (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

    Dear Jeremy,

    whatever country you are from , whatelse I can say .. apart from Thank you.

    Jack



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