Thailand Coup Leaders Insist Their Orders To Censor The Internet Are Not Actually Censorship

from the because-they-are dept

You may have heard that there was yet another coup in Thailand this week (an unfortunately common occurrence in the country). While that, alone, isn't exactly Techdirt-worthy material, there are now reports that the coup leaders have summoned local ISP execs to explain to them how to censor the internet:
The meeting with internet service providers (ISPs) is likely to discuss the directives given to Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday, when the country was under martial law but before a bloodless coup was declared. Those directives instruct ISPs to block sites containing content related to the coup that is deemed inappropriate – though it’s unclear what that means or how it will be carried out in practice. Yesterday, six sites were blocked, and the NBTC made it clear that social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Line will be monitored closely.
But the really ridiculous and amusing part is where the NBTC insists that its censorship directives are not, in fact, censorship directives, even though that's the only legitimate way to describe them:
An NBTC representative said yesterday that this does not constitute censorship of the web.
As if to hammer home the point that this "non-censorship" absolutely is censorship in every possible way, the Thai military forcibly shut down a web livestream of ThaiPBS reporters covering the news (though, as you can see from the video, everyone seems fairly laid back about it).
Shortly after the forced broadcast TV shutdown last night, ThaiPBS continued with a live YouTube stream of their TV news. But as seen in this video (hat-tip to Coconuts Bangkok for spotting it), a pair of soldiers went into the ThaiPBS newsroom to get the livestream taken offline.
Check out that "not censorship" in action.

Filed Under: censorship, coup, free speech, internet, isps, thailand


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  1. identicon
    cc young, 24 May 2014 @ 12:28am

    TV Censorship, Coup in General

    In Thailand there is one television channel that promotes "red shirt" politics, similar to Fox with Republicans, except more incendiary. The Red Shirts have publicly threatened violent succession in case of a military coup. Instead of singling out that station, the army had all stations shut off their own programming and only carry the army's own channel.

    This included cable channels as well, for example, HBO in Thailand now shows the army channel.

    This is not your ordinary military coup - after all the problems begat by the last coup this was certainly not something desired by the military. Both the yellow shirts and red shirts were each able and willing to bring the country to its knees in its war against the other, a situation cycling and building for some time. For good or bad, this is a gamble by the military to defuse the longstanding conflict. Experience says this is not one of those military dictator for life type situations.

    (If anyone wishes to discuss further can email me bangakmaco at gmail.)

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