Thailand seeks to block YouTube videos again


Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:48am BST

(Recasts paragraph 1 to clarify) BANGKOK, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Thailand is seeking to block clips on video-sharing Web site YouTube that accuse the chief royal adviser of masterminding last year’s bloodless coup, a top Justice Ministry official said on Friday. The government, which lifted a five-month ban on YouTube in August after it agreed to block clips deemed offensive to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was seeking a court order to block two video clips posted recently on

“In the next couple of days, we will seek a court order to block those links deemed to cause public confusion and threaten national security,” Yanaphon Youngyuen, head of the Justice Ministry’s Internet crimes unit, told Reuters.

“While awaiting the court order, we are seeking cooperation from Internet service providers to block those links,” he said.

The two-part postings, entitled “The Crisis of Siam,” and running 10:42 minutes and 6:06 minutes, accuse former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda of plotting the September 2006 coup, not the generals who took credit.

Such allegations against Prem, now Privy Council chief, have been made by supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during demonstrations and denied repeatedly by the generals and the government they appointed.

“Pa has been through such allegations many times and everyone knows what the truth is,” Prem’s spokesman, Vice Admiral Prajun Tampratheep, said of the 87-year-old former leader.

Last month, the Communications Ministry lifted a ban on YouTube after its owner, Google, installed filters to stop Thais from accessing clips deemed to insult 79-year-old King Bhumibol, a serious offence in Thailand.

YouTube said in May it had decided, after an agreement with the Thai government, to block some offending clips but took several months to implement it.

Thailand sent YouTube’s management a list of 12 video clips it deemed offensive. Six of the clips were removed by their creators or because they violated YouTube’s “code of service”, YouTube said in a statement

The first king-bashing clip appeared a few days after a 57-year-old Swiss man received a 10-year jail sentence for spraying graffiti on pictures of the King on his birthday in December — a rare conviction of a foreigner.

Bhumibol, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who has been on the throne for more than 60 years, granted a pardon and the Swiss man was deported.

YouTube was not available for immediate comment on Thailand’s latest attempt to block access to some of its clips.


Thailand wants to block more YouTube video clips

BANGKOK (AFP) — Thailand, which just ended a five-month ban on the video-sharing site YouTube, now wants to block clips that accuse a top royal adviser of masterminding last year’s coup, an official said Saturday.

“The video clips pose a threat to our national security,” said Yanaphon Youngyuen, head of the justice ministry’s cyber-crime department.

The two video clips, narrated in Thai with English subtitles, accuse General Prem Tinsulanonda, 87-year-old adviser to the widely respected King Bhumibol Adulyadej, of masterminding the coup in September 2006.

Prem has denied orchestrating the takeover.

Yanaphon said the government would only block the two video clips, not the entire site.

Thailand’s army-backed government, which came to power after the putsch, banned YouTube in early April after an anonymous user posted a clip showing digitally-altered images of the king next to a photograph of feet.

Thais believe feet are the lowest and dirtiest part of the body, and avoid ever showing their soles in public. Placing feet next to someone’s head is seen as a massive insult.

The government lifted the ban at the end of August after YouTube installed filters to stop viewers here seeing clips deemed offensive to the 79-year-old king.



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