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, 26 May 2014 @ 7:58am

    Here in Thailand

    General Prayuth has dissolved the civil court and declared military rule with him as the judge.

    General Prayuth has dissolved the Senate, although rigged for the coup generals who control 50% of the votes, Prayuth doesn't trust this body to act in his personal interest.

    General Prayuth has appointed himself Prime Minister and dissolved the government and police and DSI.

    General Prayuth has suspended the constitution, although it was written by the military coup of 2006. We kept voting for the wrong party.

    General Prayuth has signed a paper saying the king gave him permission, although the king has not been seen, nor the prince who speaks for him these days. The paper has no royal stamps or signatures.

    When questioned about elections, Prayuth walks out of the press conference.

    TV only shows the princesses that the military wants to have as monarchs. The pro democracy prince goes unmentioned. The king never shown.

    Anti coup protests have been popping up, the TV stations are not allowed to show or mention them. Some press is notably ignoring that and printing it.

    Shots were fired over the heads of protestors in Chiang Mai.

    Journalists are being told to report in, and then arrested for tweeting.

    An army colonel is back, he was raising an army last year to overthrow the elected government, this times, he's running 'pro-coup' mobs for the army....

    He's @pookem on twitter.

    And the army has created hotlines for people to report websites with anti coup messages on them for the army to quickly punish.

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