Political crisis and information censorship-TNN

April 25, 2009

On The Political Crisis And Information Censorship
Thai Netizen Network: April 21, 2009


Thai Netizen Network (TNN) would like to express our deepest regret with regard to the political conflict that intensified until it led to the loss of lives and properties, and the government’s enforcement of the Emergency Decree on Government Administration In States of Emergency B.E. 2548, which infringes upon citizens’ rights and freedoms by controlling Internet media. The government has blocked numerous websites that offer viewpoints that differ from those in power, pursuant to news report that the ICT Ministry has ordered censorship of over 60 websites (details in the Appendix).

TNN protests the aforementioned censorship of websites for the following reasons:

  1. Internet censorship infringes upon the basic right and freedom in accessing information and expression of citizens pursuant to the Constitution. It also violates the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  2. Blocking people’s access to information and expression of views that differ from those in power will push those differing views underground and spread rumors that cause further confusion among the public. The inevitable result is increased poltiical pressures, conflicts, and tensions. The government’s measures therefore contradict its policy of “building political reconciliation” in the society, which the government announced in the parliament and in public in the early days of the administration.

Since the state’s media including TV and radio stations are already broadcasting news in ways that fully support the government’s position, the government should be generous by allowing the Internet to serve as communication space for the citizen sector, so that people can access information and express diverse opinions. This will foster the balance of news and information in Thai society, which is critical in augmenting public knowledge on public issues, as well as encouraging all citizens to participate in expressing political opinions in a democratic manner.

TNN has the following demands and proposals with regard to this matter:

  1. We demand that the government end the state of emergency and cease censorship of the Internet as well as other grassroots media such as local radio stations and cable TV stations. Enforcing the state of emergency cannot lead to a transparent judicial process. A recent raid of media offices that lie outside the area over which state of emergency was declared by government officials clearly shows that even without enforcing this draconian law, the state can already control the media. The process under the Emergency Decree which the government claims to be necessary in this situation cannot afford any constitutional guarantees or due process to the people, since it circumvents existing judicial process.
  2. If the government deems that any media behaves in ways that propagate hatred and provoke violence in the society, we then ask that it utilize existing judicial process in regulating such media. The government must not ignore the fact that the country’s sovereignty is granted by Thai people. The use of sovereign power that comes from the population must have the process of accountability that is clear, transparent, and equitable. The government’s use of power in any situation of exception lacks this process of accountability, thereby severely contravenes democratic principles.
  3. We urge all netizens to join hands in affirming the position that we will protect rights and freedoms online, in conjunction with creating self-regulation mechanism to discourage content that could propagate hatred or provoke violence, using the following methods:
    3.1 Protecting online rights and freedoms can be done by helping to promote and distribute censorship circumvention software and knowledge on this topic. See for example website of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) – https://facthai.wordpress.com/links/softwares/ and https://facthai.wordpress.com/bloggers-handbook/get-around-censorship/
    3.2 Creating self-regulation mechanism can be done by promoting ethics of citizen journalists, for example as explained by Reporters Without Borders – http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=15003, and promoting netiquette with a special focus on respecting differing opinions and others’ right to privacy, for example some excerpts from the book Netiquette at http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html
  4. TNN urges that all parties, especially those who wield state power, display tolerance toward differing opinions and criticisms. We also demand that all parties cease using power to intimidate, whether by censoring communication spaces, threatening those who have different political views, or using the law unfairly to prosecute. We also demand all stop to torture, abduction, and assassination attempts, all of which contravene the law, human rights, morals, security, and peace of the society overall.

With reconciliation,
Thai Netizen Network
21 April 2009

Appendix: List of websites blocked by ICT Ministry, as of 18 April 2552

  1. http://www.justin.tv/nationsiam
  2. http://www.konthai.org/
  3. http://www.thaifreenews.com/
  4. http://www.thairedshirt-democracy.org/cbox/s1.html
  5. http://www.democracytoday.tv/
  6. http://www.thaipeoplevoice.org/
  7. http://freethais.com/update_13apr09.php
  8. http://www.wered.net
  9. http://www.redplus.org/
  10. http://thaienews.blogspot.com/
  11. http://www.prachachonthai.com
  12. http://www.cbnpress.com/
  13. http://uddtoday.ning.com/
  14. http://www.thaireduk.com/
  15. http://www.nocoup.net/
  16. http://downmerng.blogspot.com/
  17. http://www.jakrapob.net/
  18. http://www.truethaksin.com/
  19. http://www.chupong.com/
  20. http://www.rednon.com
  21. http://www.chupong.org/
  22. http://www.serichon.com/
  23. http://www.nationsiam.com/
  24. http://www.gmm2008.com/index.php
  25. http://thaksin.wordpress.com/
  26. http://thaipresslog.blogspot.com/
  27. http://thaiopinions.blogspot.com/
  28. http://www.newskythailand.com
  29. http://sites.google.com/site/prachathaiclub/Home
  30. http://siamfreedom.blogspot.com/
  31. http://www.priority-radio.com/
  32. http://www.cbox.ws
  33. http://www3.cbox.ws/box/
  34. http://www.no-ip.org
  35. mms://ptv.no-ip.org/mvtv_5
  36. mms://baygon2.no-ip.org/TPV1
  37. mms://baygon2.no-ip.org/livetv
  38. mms://chupong.no-ip.org/chupong
  39. http://www.dstation.tv/
  40. http://365boxstv.com/tvonline_varietyone-link2.html
  41. http://www.redplusplus.com
  42. http://www.salidausa.com
  43. http://www.redplusplus.com/
  44. http://www.windowscare.in.th/index.php
  45. http://www.norporchorusa.com/
  46. http://www.newskythailand.com/
  47. http://www.sanamluang.in.th/
  48. – Cat Telecom Sanamluang_Red
  49. – Cat Telecom Sanamluang_info
  50. http://www.rednews.info/
  51. http://www.rednews.info/live/sanamluang-2.htm
  52. http://democraticthai.com/
  53. http://www.badict.2hell.com
  54. http://www.thairedusa.com/
  55. http://365boxs.com/tvonline_varietyone.html
  56. http://www.salidausa.com
  57. http://prachachonthai.listen2myradio.com/
  58. http://www.nationsiam.com/
  59. http://www.chupong-radio.com/
  60. http://www.khonthai.org
  61. http://www.prachachonthai.com/
  62. http://www.chubthaksin.com/
  63. http://www.shinawatradio.com/
  64. http://www.thairedshirt-democracy.org/
  65. http://www.arayachon.org/
  66. http://lbsapp.freewillsolutions.com/images/usbank.com/internetBanking/Cm…

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