Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update: Abhisit's Brave New World: The Internet and Control

Foreigners must disclose website postings
- translated and summarized from Matichon; April 1, 2009

New regulations in effect from April require foreign visa holders (whether tourist or those applying for B, M, or O-type visas) to disclose if they are owners of a website or intend to post information about Thailand on a website forum or blog.

Website owners who work in Thailand must possess a Thai business registration in the form of a limited partnership even if the site is hosted overseas.

If a visa-holder intends to post material to a website--including internet forums and blogs--the posting must first be approved by the Ministry of Culture. Forms for the approval process will be handed out with the Thai Immigration entry card upon arrival or approval can be submitted via an online form at the Ministry of Culture website.

Visa holders will also be required to install "Cyber Cop" program to ensure they abide by the new regulations that restrict the viewing of some websites within Thailand. This program will automatically upload the latest blocklists without the user having to do anything.

The Ministry will not use the new regulations to censor political speech. Instead, the Ministry is mainly focusing on material that might be of detriment to Thai tourism or the country's image in general.

April Fool's Joke? I can't seem to verify this story. I checked Mathichon online and couldn't find it and nothing about it at the Ministry of Culture website.

The story seems ridiculous and impossible to enforce. But many wacky things have been going on, so it is plausible.

The story belongs on Not the Nation instead of 2bangkok.

Update: It was a joke. I was fooled at first, but I am glad I went to check the sources.

The frightening thing is that the story is plausible and consistent with government policies lately.


Unknown said...

The real problem with Thailand is that stuff like this *might* be true.


Anonymous said...

Indeed. It could be true.

This is why it's a good April Fools day joke... ;-)