The ‘YouTube battle’ continues in Thailand

Nirmal Ghosh

SINGAPORE, Oct. 13: Days after the Thai government lifted a ban on the hugely popular video-sharing site YouTube last month, new content on the site has again offended Bangkok. The original ban on YouTube was in response to the site’s refusal to take down a few video clips making fun of Thailand’s immensely popular and genuinely revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Banning YouTube had the unintended effect of spurring more interest in the issue, with furious debate in the Thai Internet community on the merit of the outright ban. Many Thais found the video clips offensive, but many did not think that justified banning the entire site.

The five-month ban was lifted last month after Google – which owns YouTube – agreed to technically fix the clips so that viewers in Thailand could not see them. The more recently posted videos, titled Crisis of Siam, allege that the King’s top adviser, former prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda, engineered last year’s coup d’etat and, moreover, harbours visions of splitting the royal family so that he can be the de facto power in Thailand.

While clearly melodramatic conspiratorial propaganda, the clips are of a serious tone and also quite long, running for a combined 16 minutes in two parts. The head of the cyber crime department of the Ministry of Justice, was quoted in reports as saying the videos posed a serious threat to Thailand’s security. The Straits Times/ANN

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