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
    Anonymous Coward, 24 May 2014 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    you sound like one of those people who don't understand the concept of free speech...

    1. i don't know where the false meme of 'it is only "censorship" (with a capital C) when it is done by gummint, mere nekkid apes are just being 'selective'...
    what a load of horseshit...
    while it is ESPECIALLY egregious (if not 'illegal', which has no meaning these days), when gummints censor, it is STILL "censorship" when private people censor on their own websites, etc...
    it is NOT that they don't have the 'legal' (or even 'moral') right to do so, it is just not reflective of their so-called values and beliefs when they engage in such a practice...
    IT IS ANTITHETICAL to what *every* amerikan should hold dear: the right to free and unfettered expression...
    2. dimbulbs inferred (without any evidence) that i was referring to techdirtia as being one of these progressive sites which censor; you would be wrong...
    i have -on numerous occasions- defended techdirtia BOTH for their generally well-done free-speech policy, as well as the low-impact, 'soft' censorship of the community voting on nominally 'hiding' posts...
    it IS a FORM of censorship, but is the least egregious sort i can imagine...
    3. AGAIN: as a matter of PRINCIPLE, so-called progressives should be for free speech in any/all venues; HOWEVER, they will NOT ALLOW such messy stuff in THEIR LITTLE sandboxes they have complete control over... WHY is that ? ? ?
    because they are closet authoritarians who weally, weally want the trains to run on time, and don't care they are hypocrites and/or liars *SAYING* they believe in 'free speech', but then refusing to honor that bedrock principle when they have complete control of their own little corner of the inertnet world...
    4. if you do not understand the principle of 'free speech', plesae re-read your chomsky, and maybe he can explain it better than you would believe from an inertnet loudmouth...

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