Thai Government Continues Pretending That If They Ban Critical Websites, No One Will Think Badly Of Its King

from the nice-try dept

What is it about governments that they think if they take a website they don't like down it will make people stop thinking bad things? Thailand's politicians seem to have adopted this viewpoint lately. First they tried to ban all of YouTube over a silly video making fun of Thailand's king. Now they're shutting down a popular political chat site. It's not as if people will stop thinking critically about the government or the monarchy -- and if anything, trying to shut down these sites will make people even more upset. It's also not as if they won't find some other place to congregate, if slightly less public. All these efforts have served to do is to bring a lot more attention to how thin-skinned Thailand's politicians seem to be.

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  1. identicon
    Brandon Wardlaw, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 9:58pm

    Perhaps Techdirt will be banned in Thailand too - the last sentence up there will do the trick.


    I, for one, welcome our new Thai censor overlords.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 10:21pm

    The Tyranny of Freedom

    The right to free expression is no guarantee that they will be exercised, though. In Japan, people have the freedom to voice anti-emperor opinions, but right-wing hooligans will use means both legal and illegal to find out who they are and do terrible things to them. Koreans who voice opinions deemed anti-Korean receive lots of death threats, sometimes carried out. Democracy is only a system of government based on majority rule; there is no guarantee that it will be tolerant or secular.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    alex, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 10:46pm

    don't criticize something u don't know about...

    i'm originally from thailand. this current thai king is loved by majority of thai people.. law or no law, if u r in thailand n said bad things about him, u r risking ur well-being. (or worse case, ur life) n that's from ur regular thais, not authorities. they might just mob-lynch u..

    don't force ur western value on diff culture without knowing what it's all about 1st..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Alan Dawson, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 11:02pm

    You don't get censorship-poor taste

    You are probably incapable of getting this because of the horrible upbringing you received from your mother. She really was a lousy parent.

    Yes, that is correct. I can say whatever I feel about your mother and there's nothing you can do about it. You got a problem with that?

    Well, of course if I were in your face and said that, you'd probably punch me. If you're really civilised and pacific, probably you'd just ask me to leave your house. Same thing with the video about the king. You DO know what you're talking about, because your momma didn't raise a fool, but you simply don't realize it.

    The video is not going to make ONE PERSON think badly of the king, not one. It was only a bunch of graffiti scratchings anyway, with no content whatsoever. But the video WILL enrage pretty much the entire citizenry, because it is done merely to disrespect what they respect.

    I presume you're familiar with the phrase "frizzy-haired 'hos"? If so, you've got a hell of a lot of nerve telling Thailand that it has to put up with crap from a troll without any response whatsoever.

    Yes, that's right, my email is in Thailand, where I live. I could just shut up and live with your post, but why? MAYBE it will make ONE reader pause a minute and prevent his knee from jerking.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    dorpus, Apr 9th, 2007 @ 11:07pm

    Re: don't criticize something u don't know about..

    Yup, many/most Thais have altars of the King in their homes and pray to him every day.

    There have been many visits between the Thai royal family and Japanese imperial family. The Thais represent a badly needed Asian ally for the Japanese, and Thais perceive acceptance by an "advanced" country as an equal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    san, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 12:54am

    subjective but google could have had it easier

    agree with alex.

    thailand and america is diff - make fun of bush. most americans dont care. it's an 'accepted' culture for many.

    but not at this part of the world. you have to respect the king, the monarch, the sanctity, everything.

    i bet u if google respected it, all they needed to do was remove that clip instead of causing themselves banned by the thais.

    do it on japan's emperor and the same issue will happen.

    time for tim o'reilly (however spelt) to do some talk on social media ethics and stuff.

    we know it's hard and can never by fully utilized - but negativity can be minimized.

    i'm with thailand on this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Dong Loy, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 1:11am

    They're using the King as an Excuse

    "most popular chat sites to shut its political forum because of postings deemed insulting to the revered monarch."

    This is why I don't like this majeste law. The King does not need the protection of the law, he has respect in Thailand.

    Politicians use (or rather abuse) this law to attack their opponents and in the case of this lot, silence opposing voices.

    They make a 'majeste' claim, and shut down dissent.

    Has the coup worked? No, the violence in the south has escalated and worse people in the North are under curfew.

    They messed up the stock market with 'reserve investment' law (since repealed), they complained about the 30 baht medical treatment one minute then make it zero baht the next, they complain about Thaksin corruption then give themselves big pay rises and a hefty bonus to keep the troops loyal.

    In no manner has this government any legitimacy at all, none, AND THEY KNOW IT, which is why they can't tolerate dissent.

    People should recognize this for what it is, it's politician's hiding behind the King because they cannot face the voters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 1:54am

    IMO, worship of a king is idiotic.
    However, in another country, you must follow that country's rules, I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    dorpus, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 2:08am


    Monarchs are popular in countries with a low collective self-esteem. The monarch is a mythological figure who symbolizes the dignity that the country lacks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    4playR, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 2:16am


    "thailand and america is diff - make fun of bush. most americans dont care. it's an 'accepted' culture for many." - San

    Now here is one sentence I can debate on and on. Culture, ethics and other random behavioral patterns of a society is evolutionary in nature. Agreed, that it is grown in stature over many years. What I do not agree is that every one has to conform to them.

    Voicing ones opinion and getting one's face caved in is not the best of options. So many tend to join the bandwagon in hailing monarchs or whatever father figure.

    But is that the only way to respond to a position? Slavery is a thing of the past, my thai friends.... awake, arise...!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 5:42am

    Re: don't criticize something u don't know about..

    So because the threats are coming from Thai citizens instead of the Thai government makes the threats okay?

    It sounds like the Thai citizens are the ones doing the forcing of different values.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    san, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 7:06am

    Re: Ummmm

    i was merely generalizing but like u said, every one can go on and on when it comes to these 'ethical' stuff. let's all see what's thailand's next move. u can't access flickr in dubai and what's new. u can't access youtube in thailand anyway :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Enrico Suarve, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 7:07am

    Ironic really

    As I used to have quite a good opinion of the King of Thailand

    He always struck me a generally in tune with his people and the recent revolution was the most bloodless I can remember, thanks in a very large part to the respect his people have for him

    Now he's starting to look just a little petty - perhaps he should slap his lackies as they are doing him no favours

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Genius, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 10:13am

    Brilliant Idea

    The RIAA and MPAA should move to Thailand. They'd fit right in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2007 @ 11:59am

    dorpus will you make a website with the collected wisdom of dorpus?

    I volunteer hosting and domain

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Duncan C St. Ives, May 2nd, 2007 @ 11:20am

    Re: don't criticize something u don't know about..

    Looks like no one forced proper spelling and grammar on you so what are you complaining about?

    On a less personal note: I hate it when people justify the inherently unjust in the name of "culture". If the Thai people have a "culture" of not being critical of the king let them not critisize... However if SOME people want to they should not be forced into silence.

    What you are saying is like arguing that Iraqis have a "culture" of secretarian conflict so suicide bombing civilians is ok. Its not and neither is censorship.

    Heres hoping for the collapse and replacement of all governments religious or secular that trample the rights of their citizens in the name of culture or anything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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