Thailand blocks thousands of websites for ‘insulting’ king

The Thai government has blocked 2,300 websites deemed insulting to the country’s monarchy and is planning to block 400 more.

telegraph

By Thomas Bell in Bangkok
Last Updated: 11:29AM GMT 06 Jan 2009

Thailand blocks thousands of websites for 'insulting' king

Thais have long been offended by insults against their king but the issue has become particularly sensitive during the political upheaval of recent months Photo: BLOOMBERG

King Bhumibol is worshipped by many Thais as the semidivine father of the nation. There are also acute sensitivities about what some people see as the palace’s role in politics. Strict lese majeste laws, which make “insulting” the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in jail, effectively prohibit any public discussion of the subject.

“The blocking of websites that disseminate content and pictures which insult the monarchy is one of the government’s crucial policies,” the information and communication minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee said on Tuesday.

He added that the law would be strengthened to increase the power of officials to block websites as soon as parliament reopens after the new year holiday.

Among the web pages blocked is a recent article in the Economist magazine which claimed that the monarchy frequently involves itself in political affairs. Thai officials insist that the king’s role is purely ceremonial and are extremely sensitive to any suggestions otherwise.

Many of the blocked sites have message boards where Thais discuss politics and the monarchy.

Thais have long been offended by insults against their king but the issue has become particularly sensitive during the political upheaval of recent months.

Protesters who overran Bangkok’s airports at the end of last year and helped bring the current government to power claimed they were acting to protect the monarchy. The former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, and his supporters in the former government were portrayed as somehow opposed to the monarchy – an allegation they denied.

Some observers believed the anti-Thaksin movement had the backing of figures close to the palace but King Bhumibol made no comment on the events.

The army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda recently told an audience of 800 battalion commanders to monitor the internet for attacks against the king. Members of the new government have called for tougher penalties for lese majeste.

An Australian author, Harry Nicolaides, has been in jail awaiting trial for 4 months over passages of a self-published novel that were deemed to refer to the real-life crown prince.

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2 Responses

  1. การหมิ่นประมาทบุ๕๕ลอื่นทั่วไปมีความผิดและมีโทษจำคุก 3 เดือน เพื่อป้องกันมิให้คนกล่าวร้ายกลั่นแกล้งผู้อื่น แล้วจะแปลกอะไรกับ โทษที่หนักกว่าสำหรับบุคคลที่บังอาจกล่าวร้ายประมุขของชาติ ในประเทศทางตะวันตกก็มีการกระทำที่ปกป้องประมุขมากยิ่งกว่า บางครั้งถึงกับมีการยิงทิ้ง บุคคลที่อาจเป็นอันตรายต่อประมุขของประเทศ

  2. You can not stop everyone to talk, every website, the world is change. Where are you?

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