Two FACT readers report a recent blockage from within Thailand. These two urls now cannot be accessed from within Thailand:

http://hello-siam.blogspot.com/
(an anti-coup blog, with critical contents on monarchy. caches: Google, Yahoo!)

http://www.sameskybooks.org/board/index.php?showtopic=17527
(an entry in the Same Sky Books forum)

Obviously there should be more than this. If you do experience any blockage, please report us.

Self-censorship on YouTube is working well – silently. Yesterday, a FACT signer reported one of the silently banned clips, which can be viewed everywhere in the world, except in Thailand.

Following an agreement with Thailand’s Ministry of ICT last year, YouTube’s management agreed to block any video clips deemed offensive to Thai people or those that violate Thai law. In other words, YouTube will do the censorship by themselves, so that the site will not be blocked again by the Ministry.

When users from Thailand try to access the reported link, http://youtube.com/watch?v=70m1ncXQjXA , they will see this message:

This video is not available in your country.

It is a lèse majesté law protest clip, which contains a few caricatures of the King’s image and Thailand’s flag, the Royal anthem is played as background music and, between those images, the clip runs these messages in black text over yellow background:

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is a dictator.

He sends anyone who speaks against him to prison – for up to 15 years.

F**k the king of Thailand – long live free speech!

Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code stipulates the penalty for lèse majesté offence as 3-15 years’ imprisonment.

เว็บไซต์กรุงเทพธุรกิจ รายงานว่า แหล่งข่าวจากกระทรวงไอซีที ให้สัมภาษณ์ถึงการจัดการกับเว็บไซต์ที่เข้าข่ายมีความผิดร้ายแรงว่า การแก้ไขปัญหาในเชิงกฎหมายสามารถดำเนินการได้เฉพาะกรณีในประเทศ แต่กรณีต่างประเทศ กระทรวงไอซีทีกำลังเตรียมการ โครงการ แฮค แอนด์ แครก คือถ้าพบเว็บไซต์ที่มีความผิดร้ายแรง โดยเฉพาะการหมิ่นเบื้องสูง ซึ่งเป็นเรื่องที่กระทบกระเทือนจิตใจคนไทยทั้งประเทศ อาจใช้วิธีการแฮคและลบข้อมูลในเว็บไซต์แห่งนั้น เพราะหากรอกระบวนการทางกฎหมาย อาจไม่ทันต่อเหตุการณ์

“การกระทำลักษณะนี้อาจเข้าข่ายผิดกฎหมายอยู่บ้าง แต่บางครั้งก็ต้องยอมแลก ถ้าเป็นสิ่งที่ยอมรับไม่ได้จริงๆ” แหล่งข่าวระบุ

Read the rest of this entry »

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry is to ‘hack and crack’ foreign websites deemed offensive to Thailand’s revered institutions.

A March 15 report in Krungthep Turakij newspaper (www.bangkokbiznews.com) quoted a source at the ICT that the ministry could pursue legal proceedings only with websites registered in Thailand, and is now planning a ‘hack and crack’ programme to hack offensive websites hosted abroad and delete their contents, because the legal process would take too long.

“This approach may be somewhat illegal, but sometimes it might be worth it, if [the websites] are really unacceptable,” the source said.

Read the rest of this entry »

หนังดี ที่ถูกลืม (กดเพื่อดูวิดีโอ) / เฉลิมไทยอวอร์ด จากห้องเฉลิมไทย พันทิป.คอม

Forgotten good films in Thailand (click to watch video) / Chalermthai Awards from Chalermthai forum, Pantip.com

listing: Children of Men, Little Miss Sunshine, Letters from Iwo Jima, แสงศตวรรษ (Syndromes and a Century), Borat, Notes on a Scandal, The Last King of Scotland, Knocked Up, Apocalypto

Special report: Legal amendment disturbs Privy Councilors

Prachatai, 11 October 2007

Events in the last couple of days remind us of the words given by His Majesty the King on 4 December 2005, remembered as the The King can do wrong speech.

On 8 October 2007, it was reported that more than 60 members of National Legislative Assembly (NLA) led by Mr. Pornpetch Wichitchonchai signed a motion for amendments of two laws, and the motion was tabled for deliberation today (10 October).
In essence, an amendment was proposed to Section 112 of the Penal Code concerning the defaming, insulting or threatening of the King, Queen, Heir-apparent, or Regent. The proposed Section 112/2 would expand this protection to cover Privy Councillors and a breach of the law would result in a maximum imprisonment of five years and fine of one hundred thousand baht.

Read the rest of this entry »

[FACT comments: Make no mistake–the proposed lese-majeste bills were intended only to curry favour with those in positions of power. These are people who presume to speak for His Majesty, to show themselves more loyal Royal in order to enhance their own positions. Once again, this is simply craven abuse of power.
FACT thinks these bills had nothing to do with anti-coup protest but were proposed due to a two-part video posted to YouTube. The videos, “Crisis in Siam” were professionally produced in Thai with English subtitles and sought to demonise and vilify Privy Council chair General Prem Tinsulanonda and accusing him of lese-majeste. The first of them also made the incredible allegation that “12 Royal pages were killed in Dusit Palace” during the coup d’etat on the night of September 19, 2006.
These videos were ludicrous. Only a gullible, misinformed public would believe them. A public without access to all information because of censorship is a vulnerable one. If we truly want democracy in Thailand, we have to learn to accept all components of free expression such as these videos, no matter how misguided.]

Criminal law change withdrawn

Privy Council ‘uneasy with added protection’

Manop Thip-osod and Kultida Samabuddhi

Bangkok Post, October 10, 2007

A bill to amend the Criminal Code was withdrawn from the National Legislative Assembly yesterday after a member of the Privy Council expressed reluctance to enjoy protection under the proposed amendment. Read the rest of this entry »

Another nail in the coffin of Thai democracy

Straight to the Point by Jon Ungphakorn

Bangkok Post, October 10, 2007

The National Legislative Assembly today was supposed to consider two bills that would further erode freedom of political expression in Thailand. Each bill is being sponsored by over 60 members of the NLA, including several supposed media representatives. It is only good that both bills have been withdrawn. But that does not mean they should not be discussed.

The first bill seeks to amend the criminal code to extend the crime of lese majeste to cover defamation and expressions of contempt against royal children, privy councillors, and personal representatives of the King.

Offences against privy councillors would carry jail terms of between six months and five years and/or fines of between 10,000 and 100,000 baht. Offences against royal children would carry even stiffer penalties.

The second bill, if passed, would allow investigators or prosecutors to seek court orders banning all reporting or commentary on lese majeste cases by any media throughout the period of investigation and court trial.

These are bills relating to the extremely sensitive issue of lese majeste in Thai society. Had they not been withdrawn at the last minute, they would have been considered by an unelected legislature appointed by a military junta that took power on Sept 19 last year.

The NLA has no right to consider these bills!

The fact that prominent media representatives are sponsoring the bills is simply outrageous!

There has been no public hearing or debate on the contents of the two bills, which clearly infringe upon the basic rights and freedoms guaranteed in our new constitution. Media reporting and commentary on the bills has been muted due to the reluctance of our media to engage with politically sensitive issues.

Read the rest of this entry »

[FACT comments: All proposed laws in Thailand require Royal assent to pass into law. Perhaps we can look forward to His Majesty declining to give his consent to such an unjust law.]

Thailand’s Proposed Amendments an Attack on Free Speech

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned plans by the Thai National Legislative Assembly to extend laws that restrict media coverage of cases dealing with the royal family and advisors.

Under these proposed amendments to lese majeste laws, journalists could face three years imprisonment and be fined 60,000 baht (approximately US$1900) for ignoring a court–ordered publication ban. The law would also be extended to cover criticism of Privy Councillors.

Thailand’s Supreme Court Chief Judge Pornpetch Wichitcholchai confirmed to Reuters that the laws were intended to stop media reports critical of the monarchy reaching the public. Read the rest of this entry »

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