Liberal Thai unblocked

October 30, 2009

LiberalThai was mysteriously unblocked today.

The site’s blocking and unblocking raise serious questions on the status of freedom of expression in Thailand. However, since MICT conducts its censorship in secret–even the court orders for Web censorship are stamped “Secret”–no one in Thailand knows if they may be contravening the cybercrime law or some other. And we will never know the real reason LiberalThai was blocked: in error, for review, pre-emptively or…?

We don’t know how many censors MICT and Royal Thai Police employ on a 24-hour basis seven days a week. These agencies never state their reasons for blocking nor attempt to contact website owners for takedown, revision or simply clarification; website owners are given no recourse against government censorship.

It seems most websites are blocked immediately on an emergency basis on grounds of undefined national security. Such action is illegal in Thailand if martial law or emergency powers under the Internal Security Act have not been invoked by the government. The only kegal means for government to censor is by application for a court order, a court order to which the Thai public is never privy.

If Thai government agencies are censoring by searching keywords, they likely will have added “feckless” to the list. There could be no more appropriate term for Thai government and its censors.

4 Responses to “Liberal Thai unblocked”


  1. ‘ These agencies never state their reasons for blocking nor attempt to contact website owners for takedown, revision or simply clarification; website owners are given no recourse against government censorship. ‘

    But this is just business as usual in a country run by a class that believes in the divine right of the “ruling class’ to do whatever the hell it is inspired to do. Consulting its “subjects” surely never occurred to them. Why would they do that? All government business is conducted in this fashion so why should the censorship business be any different?

    The banner at the Liberal Thai :

    “We inform, you block.”

    Maybe someone informed the government’s PR department of just how stunningly stupid it made them appear. One down… 16,000 to go.


  2. Liberal Thai is blocked again as of
    Sat Oct 31 07:04:40 ICT 2009

    Don’t know when they pulled the plug.


  3. Sat Oct 31 22:44:42 ICT 2009, and access to
    http://liberalthai.wordpress.com/
    is still being redirected to
    http://w3.mict.thai.co.th
    where the phone rings and rings and goes unanswered.

    But really simple syndication is still working and addresses delivered via really simple syndication are still working. So it seems that the brains of the censors are not fully engaged. They are just trapping requests to the bald domain name itself but not more specific requests for pages beyond the front page. The same thing happened when they blocked Giles’ blog, although they followed through after a bit and blocked a wider range of pages within the domain.

    The really simple syndication address is formed by adding feed to the bald domain above. From there you can see what’s what at the site.


  4. Sun Nov 1 06:35:02 ICT 2009

    I was sure I had posted at Sat Oct 31 22:44:42 ICT 2009 that although http://liberalthai.wordpress.com/ is in fact being redirected to the black hole of Bangkok at http://w3.mict.go.th the really simple syndication service is still functioning and delivering updates on the content of liberal thai. The really simple syndication service can be reached at the above with feed appended to the universal resource identifier.

    I guess that on halloween FACTthai disguised itself as a censor, played a trick, and deleted my posting.


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