Human Rights: A Key Democrat Party MP want YouTube & Facebook Thai service axed (Up-Dated with Article 19)

  • By Tammy, Thai Intel’s humanity journalist

Prachathai, where the chief editor is facing a lese majeste charge that could result in a 20 years jail term, reports that a key Democrat Party MP, Malika, a deputy spokesperson for the party, just told the Thai press that both YouTube and Facebook should be axed in Thailand, to protect Thai Royalty-along the line of China cracks-down on internet dissent.

  • The moves comes as Malika is levying an attack on Yingluck’s government, for a too relaxed position on content deemed insult to the Thai Royalty on the internet.

That attack by Malika, included handing Yingluck’s ICT Minister a list of about 200 internet address that she claims offended the Monarchy, saying, “If Yingluck government did nothing on the list, she will sue the government for failure to perform the duty.

Yingluck’s ICT minister, responded, by saying it is difficult to crack-down on internet lese majeste, since the host is often located outside of Thailand-but said that the government has requested Facebook to axe about 10,000 cases of lese majeste.

As part of that, the minister also warned the Thai people, that hitting the “like” button on the Facebook, on anti-monarchist content, is against Thai law.

  • On Twitter, some are speculating, that the real objective of Malika, is to bring the Yellow Shirts, a radical far extreme right royalist group, towards reconciliation with the Democrat Party, after the relations have soured. Both the Democrat Party and the Yellow Shirts, share similar political philosophy, but the break was because of a conflict of interest, between Abhisit and Sondi, head of the Yellow Shirts. The break-up had greatly hurt the Thai establishment.
  • On Twitter also, some are speculating that the move of the Democrat Party towards the far extreme, is meant to pull Yingluck towards a far extreme position on Thai royalism, and could potentially result in a wage between Yingluck and her liberal leaning Red Shirts movement supporters, where many Red Shirts face lese majeste charges.

Thailand, under the Democrat Party governing of Abhisit, saw Freedom House, re-rate Thailand from a semi-free country to not-free country.

The following are some news about Facebook and YouTube in Thailand:

Facebook:

Facebook monitoring helps to improve your business and social media marketing strategy in every country. Currently, there are 12881800 Facebook users in the Thailand, which makes it #16 in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by country.

YouTube:

In 2006, Thailand blocked access to YouTube for users with Thai IP addresses. Thai authorities identified 20 offensive videos and demanded that Google remove them before it would allow unblocking of all YouTube content.[28]

During the week of March 8, 2007, YouTube was blocked in Thailand.[29] Many bloggers believed the reason for the blocking was a posted video of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra‘s speech on CNN. The government did not confirm or provide reasons for the ban. YouTube became accessible again on March 10, 2007.

On the night of April 3, 2007, YouTube was again blocked in Thailand.[30] The government cited a video on the site that it called “insulting” to King Bhumibol Adulyadej.[31][32] However, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology claimed that it would unblock YouTube in a few days, after websites containing references to this video are blocked instead of the entire website.[33] Communications Minister Sitthichai Pokai-udom said, “When they decide to withdraw the clip, we will withdraw the ban.”[34] Shortly after this incident the internet technology blog Mashable was blocked from Thailand over the reporting of the YouTube clips in question.[35] YouTube was unblocked on August 30, 2007, after YouTube reportedly agreed to block videos deemed offensive by Thai authorities.[36]

On September 21, 2007, Thai authorities announced they were seeking a court order to block videos that had recently appeared on YouTube accusing Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda of attempting to manipulate the royal succession to make himself Thailand’s king.[37]

  • The following is from Article 19:

ARTICLE 19

06 Oct 2011

Thailand’s freedom of expression record – especially its lèse-majesté law and the Computer Crimes Act (2007) – came under strong scrutiny during the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“With a number of lèse-majesté and computer crimes cases currently on trial – such as the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn and Ampon Tangnoppakul, the international spotlight on Thailand’s declining freedom of expression cannot be more timely. It is essential that the new government of Thailand adopts all UPR recommendations regarding freedom of expression and takes proactive and measurable steps in their implementation,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19. 

ARTICLE 19 attended the UPR of Thailand, during which United Nations Human Rights Council Member States expressed widespread concerns about the sharp increase in lèse-majesté and computer crime charges and the serious impact on freedom of expression.

Recommendations to Thailand to repeal or review the lèse-majesté law (Article 112 of Thailand’s Penal Code) and the Computer Crime Act (2007) were made by fourteen member states, including Western European countries, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil and Indonesia.

Indonesia was the only member state of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to highlight the issue of freedom of expression in Thailand, a fellow member. It urged Thailand to carry out a comprehensive review of its laws to ensure that they fulfil the right to freedom of expression in accordance to international standards.

Norway, a constitutional monarchy like Thailand, recommended the government strike a balance between protection of the monarchy and the right to freedom of expression for individuals, and called for public and transparent procedures in the legal proceedings of lèse-majesté and Computer Crime Act cases. Norway stressed that those accused of lèse-majesté should only be prosecuted with the consent of the king, to prevent abuse, and offered to share Norway’s experience in this area.

Both the United Kingdom and France called for Thailand to enable the public to debate the lèse-majesté law without fear of prosecution. In recent years, even the discussion of the lèse-majesté law risks arrest.

A large number of delegates urged Thailand to review its special security laws such as the Emergency Decree, which provides impunity for state officials and gives unchecked powers to the government to suppress expression and censor the media.

In response to the Review, the Thai delegation said, “The government recognises the implications of the law and is keen to prevent abuse. Measures have been taken including establishing a committee under the police to screen cases and ensure they meet the criteria for charges. As a result many charges have been dropped. An additional committee has also been set up to advise on lèse-majesté. The committee has undertaken a comparative study on lèse-majesté to come up with guidelines to reduce complaints. There are ongoing public debates on the lèse-majesté law and these debates have generated a lot of recommendation on improving the situation.

On the Computer Crime Act, the Thai delegation said that the law is being amended and the government will consult with civil society and internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure that it will be brought inline with international standards. The Thai delegation also promised to extend open invitations to all United Nations Special Rapporteurs and to engage civil society in the implementations of the UPR recommendations. 

http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/1739/en/thailand:-article-19%27s-submission-to-the-un-universal-periodic-review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.

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