Thai Government Forbids Any Online Contact With Three Overseas Critics Of The Monarchy

from the yeah,-that'll-work dept

As long-time Techdirt readers will know, Thailand does love it some lèse-majesté punishments. The country's lèse-majesté law -- literally "injured majesty" -- is used to protect Thailand's monarch from any kind of insult, however slight. It's been applied time and again over the years -- we first wrote about it back in 2007. In the past, the Thai government has done all the obvious things like demanding that local ISPs block sites, snooping on its citizens to find out who might be disrespecting the king, and threatening to throw even foreigners in prison for a very long time. But its latest move on the lèse-majesté front is rather a bold one: it has forbidden its citizens from having any online contact with three critics of the Thai monarchy and government. As the Guardian reports:

A letter from the [Thai] digital economy and society ministry warned citizens that engaging on the internet with the Thai academics Somsak Jeamteerasakul and Pavin Chachavalpongpun as well as the journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall could violate the law.

All three live in outside Thailand but have large online followings in the country for their commentary about the failings of both the junta and the monarchy.

The ministry statement said citizens should not follow, contact or share content from the trio on the internet or social media. The letter added that people who disseminate their information, directly or indirectly, could be violating the country’s Computer Crime Act.

The three people concerned are only able to voice their criticisms of the monarchy and government because they live outside the country -- it would obviously be far too risky to do the same inside it. So this latest move is effectively an attempt to forbid Thai citizens from accessing "forbidden" material that lies beyond the Thai government's direct control, and which has proved impossible to block using technical means. It will doubtless be just as futile.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Apr 2017 @ 3:35am

    Oh Tailand...

    Why must you be run by such colossal losers?

    Meanwhile in Turkey(and a few other countries)... "Yes. Yes, that is most definitely a power I want."

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 14 Apr 2017 @ 5:55am

      Re: Oh Tailand...

      Trump is jealous of this law.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: Oh Tailand...

        Yes, yes he is, but so are most other politicians.

        But to be honest, most people actually want their favorite politicians to have similar powers.

        People really do want a King, it shows in most elections as well.

        A historical example
        1 Samuel 8

        A solid lesson that few are able to learn!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 2:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh Tailand...

          "most people actually want their favorite politicians to have similar powers."

          Rule one of super powers --- they have to wear spandex




          "People really do want a King"

          Wrong



          Do tell me more of your hallucinations

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 3:36am

    long live king of apes!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Apr 2017 @ 3:38am

    So what we need here is the 'bad peoples' twitter names & the offical gov accounts... and then tweet stuff at both & let the insanity flow.

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

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 14 Apr 2017 @ 4:21am

    What I think would be hilarious...

    Is if all three of those individuals were to send email to King Vajiralongkorn, the exact topic doesn't matter.

    Wouldn't it be amusing if the Thai government were to attempt to prosecute their own King for lèse-majesté?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 4:29am

    I've got nothing against the Thai monarch.

    I'm just against the principle of monarchy generally. It's an unjust, anachronistic affront to representative democracy and enlightenment values.

    People shouldn't play along with the farce of modern monarchy. There's nothing "majestic" about these people.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 11:15am

    A remember a good real life leadership lesson that came up in a work of fiction: Don't give commands that you know will not be obeyed, as it undermines your authority as a leader.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 12:13pm

    a move like this shows to me that there must be a good deal of truth in the criticisms, if not, Thailand wouldn't want to stop them from being read, would it!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2017 @ 1:13pm

    This, and the fact that the Thai Monarchy are a bunch of racist, thieving usurpers who have no ACTUAL claim to Thai royalty probably doesn't help matters.

    Their "king" is a usurper with zero biological or political claims to the throne, only the fact that questioning his rule gets you sent to jail is what keeps him there.

    The sooner Thailand has a republican revolution and these people are either imprisoned in lonely dark cells or lined up against the wall of a ladyboy brothel and shot the better.

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


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