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05 April 2007

Thai junta bans YouTube for video seen as insulting to king

Still of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, from paddidda's banned YouTube video.

Agence France-Presse
pickup in Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Thursday 5 April 2007

Thailand faces
criticism for
blocking YouTube

Thailand's decision to ban video-sharing website YouTube has highlighted a growing crackdown by the junta against political comment online, a media rights group said on Thursday.

The military-installed government announced Wednesday that it had banned YouTube after authorities failed to block a video considered insulting to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a revered figure here.

The 44-second clip shows images of the king, crudely altered with a graphics programme, which flash on the screen to the tune of the Thai national anthem.

One image shows the monarch under a photograph of feet, which are considered the lowest part of the body in Buddhism. The image is hugely offensive in Thailand, a mainly Buddhist country.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance said that while commentary about the king is culturally sensitive in Thailand, blocking the entire site raised serious concerns.

"Thais are now deprived of a popular and accessible medium that can accommodate alternative and independent voices," it said in a statement.

"There is a growing spectre of intolerance toward web-based media as a whole. The Internet is vulnerable in Thailand, and not just when it comes to material pertaining to the king," it said.

Since the military seized power in a September coup, it has also blocked political websites linked to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra as well as a university discussion board.

Police are also investigating a website calling on the king to sack his top adviser, Prem Tinsulanonda, over his alleged role in masterminding the coup.

YouTube is owned by Internet giant Google, and has a monthly audience of more than 70 million viewers. The company did not immediately respond to email queries for comment.

- 30 -

© 2007 Agence France-Presse

From the AFP website:
AFP is the world's oldest established news agency, founded in 1835 by Charles-Louis Havas, the father of global journalism.


Thai News said...

I'm verry sad for Thailand :-(

Bob Merkin said...

Hi --

Do you know how many Thai ppl visit my Vleeptron blog? You're the first! Thanks!

Now PLEASE leave more Comment about the situation in Thailand, the junta, politics, the King, why you're sad ... TELL US STUFF! We never hear ANYTHING about Thailand!

Please make us less ignorant! That's what the Internet is all about!

Bob the Vleeptron Dude
Massachusetts USA

Anonymous said...

The situation is simple
The junta has torn down all democracy in thailand, yes we are now a military state.
1.They closed down all website on the internet that critisize the junta
PS. I think the main reason they closed down is because so many clips was critisizing the junta, They just used the king as an excuse(May be They're the one that posted the first video that insult the king, who knows!! )
2. All the media in thailand such as newspaper, TV, radio station is only allowed to kiss the Junta serious Booty, If not they will be force to closed down or face severed punishment like ITV(one popular news station) has been smack to the face with 100,000 million bath dept and 10 percent interest rate per day.
Has now been change to TITV and is now owned by the Junta.

Anonymous said...

In 19 Sep. 2006 , While Our beloved PM Taksin Shinawatra is at the meeting with the United Nation, The Junta lead by King Advisor Prem Thinlasulanon. and General Sonthi bunyaradkarin they march tank to closed down the road, sized the palace and the thailand whitehouse, sized control over all TV station and declared the city of Bangkok under marshal law.
Their reason for doing so is that
1. PM Taksin Shinawatra is corrupted and a dictator by buying all vote in thailand on all previous election
Ans. Which is intirly untrue the true reason for doing this is this:
A1.General Sonthi. has been assign to solve the terrorism activity in southan Thailand and is giving a time limit if he don't have some solid working result by than he will not be Head General anymore.

A2. Only a couple of days before PM Taksin Shinawatra went to Meeting with United Nation,their was an assasination attempt on his life-a huge bomb placed in a car,Which If detonated can destroy everything in radius of 10 km. The assasination failed and all the assasins has beed captured,investigationg is slowly reaching the Head assasin-The Junta.
So they have to make their move first before that happens.

Anonymous said...

One reason for the military forming the Junta is PM Taksin Shinawatra budget policy
1.Cut military funding down to minimum because Thailand is not at war with any nation to save more money to help support all the people in thailand-He gave 1 millian bath each to every village in thailand to house their own project so that they can help themself(Education, fight against drugs, export local product, etc..).
If any military peronal need money for anything they have to give solid report stating what proper reason, how much money to used, as evidance and if the money is misused they will face severed punishment.
And as for equipment such as tank, guns, Jet plane,etc..PM Thaksin exchanged for them not with money but with thailand local agricultural product such as rice, frozen chicken,etc.. which most would have to be disposed of every year(because they are rotten after sometime)
One time he even made a deal like this with Russia for dezon of the latest ZU-xxx model fighter Jet.

and Now that PM Taksin is ousted of thailand those deal is off, and I've heard that The Junta just bought dozen of Second rated,out of date F-16 from America for 5 millian dollars each.

Bob Merkin said...

hey Anonymous! Are you Thai News? Well -- thanks! Now go HERE:

and tell us LOTS MORE!

(also if you see brian, kick him in the butt for me)

Kana Sihsobhon said...

Believe it or not. I actually agree with the decision to ban YouTube.
First of all, I am Thai but was educated in the US for 10 years so I have full understanding of 'freedom of the speech' and 'freedom of the press' stuff. The ban is about mutual respect. Our King is very much respected and loved by all Thai people, domestic and living abroad. Insulting to the king is the same as insulting the country of Thailand and the heart all Thai people.
The ICT ministry did ask YouTube politely to take down the clip. YouTube's refusal to do so and hiding under the 'freedom of expression' is an insult to all Thai people.
For those of you who criticize Thai ministry for baning YouTube, let me ask you this. Why should we, The Thai people, respect you and your idea when you show such blatant disrespect to us and our beloved King?
The ban on YouTube has nothing to do with the oust of Taksin. I for one am really glad to get rid of that sleazy snakeheaded greedy and extremely corrupted bastard.

Vleeptron Bob said...

hi Kana Sihsobhon

Thanks for the info and the extra focus about this situation. I guess you noticed when you lived in the USA that we don't get a lot of detailed news from Thailand here in the USA.

No one but a Thai who is angry with the Junta, or who is opposed to the government's use of lese majeste, would have made the disrespectful and provocative image in the first place. Whoever the "artist" was, I suspect he felt it was impossible to debate the justice of how lese majeste is used by the junta. He believes that the junta hides behind lese majeste to hold onto power and pretend that the junta is the King's guardian and defender of the King's respect.

He is trying to force the Junta into increasingly cruel and harsh acts in the name of lese majeste. This, the artist believes, will lessen the Junta's support among the Thai people, and speed the end of the Junta and new elections.

That's my best guess from half a world away.

As I mentioned, most Brits love and revere their Queen, without risking prison if they commit a disrespectful act. You can paint a moustache on an image of the Queen, and you won't risk going to prison for 10 years.

Anonymous said...

This is our private affair and any of world population should pay respect to each other. No one should do no harm to any of each person. Our King Phumibol is our beloved of Thai's heart. He can do no wrong and untouchable. He helps a lot of poor Thais and a lot of people who has no chance from suffering and straving. If someone tries to do any harm things to him, he or she will be greatly cursed and sad for what he or she did. We now would like fully help to find out that or those persons or group of persons who try to harm our king and give them hard punishment very soon.

Vleeptron Dude said...

yo Anonymous

this is an Anonymous Driveby Comment, which is against the Vleeptron Rule. I'll keep it up here for 24 hours because it's funny. Then I delete it.

I haven't heard anybody say that the King can do no wrong since the 17th Century.

Karina said...

As for monarchies blocking Youtube, I don't think censorship is hardly ever permissible, and especially not when it concerns one of the most important figures in the state.
How can you say you're a free society when criticism of a man who is vital to the country's image is illegal?
Thailand is developing in a right way, so it should be very careful about such cases, cause it might do harm in improving international relations, attracting tourists, businessmen who want to invest in Thailand property.