We recently wrote about how the leaders of the latest military coup in Thailand (one of many that have happened there) summoned ISP officials to tell them to start censoring the internet
, though they were adamant that it was not actually censorship. It appears that these coup leaders really like to flat out deny exactly what they are doing. Today, for example, they completely blocked access to Facebook for a few hours
, and then blamed it on a "technical problem."
"We have no policy to block Facebook and we have assigned the ICT ministry to set up a supervisory committee to follow social media and investigate and solve problems," said Sirichan Ngathong, spokeswoman for the military council.
"There's been some technical problems with the internet gateway," she said, adding that the authorities were working with internet service providers to fix the problem urgently.
Not that such an excuse was believable, but it was made even less believable when the country's Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry came out and admitted that it had censored the site -- and will be asking other social media sites to censor themselves as well:
"We have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them," Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, told Reuters.
"Right now there's a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup," he said.
In other words, there was no "technical problem." There was just out and out censorship, and the government is expecting much more of that, because they don't want anyone saying anything critical about the coup. That's pretty clear, good old-fashioned censorship, no matter what the coup leaders would like to claim. Also, given how much people seem to like things like social media, it seems like a pretty silly strategy to take that away from people, hoping it will somehow make them more willing to support the coup.