Friday, April 06, 2007

SMH - Outrage over videos mocking Thai king

While the original offensive video clip has been removed, two more have been uploaded to YouTube. I doubt that it's anything to do with the insurgents in the south and the King is highly revered there, as well as elsewhere, because of his compassion and good works to help the little people of Thailand.

My hope is that those doing this will stop. The King has the country's good at heart and it's rather stupid to insult him. If someone is unhappy with the political scene in Thailand, then maybe they should focus on where the rot really is. Leave the King alone.

Outrage over videos mocking Thai king - World -
Thailand today expressed outrage at the posting of two new videos mocking the country's revered king on the video-sharing website YouTube, pledging to maintain a ban on the site.

"This group of people has found another outlet, taking another action that is considered very offensive to the king," said communications ministry spokesman Vissanu Meeyoo.

"Thailand doesn't want to take this kind of action. We are just doing it temporarily," he said of the ban imposed on Tuesday.

The original video that prompted Thai authorities to block YouTube appeared to have been withdrawn by its creator, with a notice on the site saying it had been "removed by the user".

But two more clips, posted by users with different screen names from the original video creator, surfaced today. The site was accessed in Bangkok via a foreign server.

Like the first video, one of the new postings showed images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's face covered with graffiti or juxtaposed with images of feet, considered deeply offensive in Thailand.

Another clip showed pictures of the king that had been digitally altered to make him resemble a monkey, and carried messages saying Thailand's leaders are "evil and hate free speech".

The second video used an expletive to denounce the king and the government.

"Officials will meet this afternoon with an association of internet users to discuss taking further action, after the parent company Google failed to give any cooperation," the communications ministry spokesman said.

"We need cooperation from internet users to monitor these groups," he added.

A spokeswoman for YouTube said before the new videos were posted that the company was "disappointed" with Thailand's ban of the site.

"We have asked the government to lift the block, and we look forward to the resumption of service to our Thai users," spokeswoman Julie Supan said.

The decision to block the entire YouTube site drew sharp criticism from media freedom groups, who said the ban highlighted a growing trend for the military government to censor political expressions on the internet.

Thailand's king, almost universally adored by Thais, is the world's longest-reigning monarch, and one of the few who is still protected by tough laws that prohibit any insult against the royal family.

The ban came a week after Thailand jailed a Swiss man for 10 years for insulting the king by vandalising his portraits during a drunken spree.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

YouTube disappears from Thai Internet

Well, there we go... the problem revealed. Of course, YouTube nobs would have no idea how offensive anything against the King would be. I believe a foreign national has been sentenced to 10year jail for defacing posters of the king. The foreigner was in a drunken state and now has a long time to consider his stupidity!

Bangkok Post: Top Stories: YouTube disappears from Thai Internet

Internet users reported on Wednesday that Thai authorities had blocked the popular website YouTube, over an insulting video of His Majesty the King.

Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, the minister of information and communication technology, told the Reuters news agency he personally ordered a block of the entire site from Thailand after the ministry's attempts to block the offending page last week failed.

"Since Google (which owns YouTube) has rejected our repeated requests to withdraw the clip, we can't help blocking the entire site in Thailand," said Mr Sitthichai. "When they decide to withdraw the clip, we will withdraw the ban," he said.

The site was unavailable to all customer of Thai Internet providers by Wednesday evening. The ban took several hours to take hold, with many users able to access the site at midday, while others said they could not reach it.

An Internet engineer in Bangkok, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the block appeared to be at the main Thailand gateway maintained by CAT Telecom, which claims to have a monopoly on all international Internet traffic.

"All traffic to the CAT Internet providers seems to be blocked at CAT's router," said the engineer. "It doesn't help that they only have two (customers) to begin with." Thailand has two major high-speed Internet providers.

Most users of one of the two major high-speed Internet services in Thailand were able to reach YouTube as usual as of noon on Wednesday, several hours after other users reported being blocked. By evening, all subscribers of Thai Internet providers were blocked from all of YouTube.

YouTube has many controversial videos concerning Thai politics, but a user uploaded a serious video-slide show satire against His Majesty last Sunday.

The clip, seen more than 16,000 times, was posted by someone using the screen name "paddidda." His post was criticised or rudely attacked by most of the 532 comments up to last night about the video.

Mr Sitthichai said YouTube had told Thai officials it did not find the clip offensive and declined their request to remove it.

The minister had promised early this week to block websites he or his staff considered to be pornographic, offensive to the monarchy or a danger to national security.

Blocking YouTube, which has hundreds of thousands of videos, will be highly controversial, even if offensive clips remain on the site. It already has been criticised as throwing the baby out with the dirty dishwater.

In a similar case last month, many Internet users in Thailand claimed they could not reach YouTube because of a block - but others had no problem reaching the site.

As Post Database writer Don Sambandaraksa wrote about the last YouTube partial outage in his column in today's newspaper:

NOTE: link is

"[W]hen something as blatant as censoring YouTube occurred, nobody seems to be responsible for it, or for finding out who did it. The Ministry of ICT (MICT) said it was not their fault while the TOT and CAT also denied responsibility."

YouTube blocked in Thailand

This is really charming! YouTube is being blocked here in Thailand. I accessed it okay yesterday but today all that comes up is the following message:

The web site you are accessing has been blocked by the requested of The Communication Authority of Thailand.
For more information please contact:
Ministry of Information an Communication Technology
Building 9, TOT PCL Chaeng Wattana Rd. Laksi Bangkok 10210
Tel. 0-2505-7147,0-2568-2498

It's in both English and Thai. It makes me wonder what, if anything has been uploaded that has offended whomever. So much for freedom of speech!