Friday, May 18, 2007

Asia Sentinel: More on Junta's Efforts to Crack Down on Freedom in Cyberspace

Thailand Gets ‘Net-Tough

Daniel Ten Kate

A vague cyber-crime law in Thailand has global scope and chilling ramifications for free speech

Be careful if you’re reading this in Thailand. You might be breaking the law.

Free speech advocates are ringing alarm bells over a new cyber-crime law passed by the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly last week by a vote of 119 to 1.

Although a final draft has yet to be released, some analysts say it represents a draconian new step in the government's efforts to suppress free speech and turn Thailand into a fully-fledged nanny state. It must receive royal endorsement before it takes effect.

Lawmakers pushed the bill through Parliament to make way for a lese-majeste lawsuit against Google for refusing to remove videos insulting to King Bhumibol Adulyadej from its video-sharing website, YouTube. But just as the law was approved, the government announced that Google retreated and offered to ban any videos deemed offensive to Thailand’s esteemed monarch.


Who is getting punished by this law?

Certainly not the old bureaucratic dinosaurs like Sittichai who don't use or understand the internet. Sittichai isn't even Thai. He comes from a Kuomintang soldier family that served Chiang Kai Shaek, and that probably explains his apparent hostility to political freedom.

Certainly not the Thai masses who don't have access to fixed phone lines, computers, and the internet.

Certainly not the sakdina elite who don't want anybody challenging their myopic view of the world, which propagates that they know everything by virtue of being born into wealth or an aristocratic family.

No, the only people who are being punished are the liberal minded, educated minority that believes in personal responsibility and freedom.


Anonymous said...

Was this stupid cyber law passed by parliament?

anon said...

Yes, the kangaroo legislature (I cringe at calling it a parliament) passed it 119 to 1.

Anonymous said...

So when will the cyber police start arresting me or Patiwat?

I did not even bother to read the cyber legislation . . and I have NOT notice any diminishing of anti-junta or anti-monarchy posters in the cyber world.

A stupid law cannot be enforced is why cyber life goes on at its usual subversive self.