Thailand’s massive Internet censorship

Government objective: Hear no evil, speak no evil, writes Asia Sentinel.

Global Voices Advocacy (GVD), a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists, has launched a shocking report that Thailand has blocked at least 113,000 websites deemed to pose a threat to national security.

With its objective to defend free speech online, Global Voices revealed that Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) and the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES) admitted to blocking 48,000 websites in May this year, 50,000 in June and July and adding 500 more per day. Asia Sentinel has been blocked intermittently in Thailand over stories critical of the political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, Freedom against Censorship Thailand (FACT), whose website has also been blocked, conducted its own extensive testing across Thai Internet service providers (ISPs). It found that ISPs blocked at least a further 15,000. GVD has already criticized the government’s policy on curbing freedom of media and called Thailand an “Internet Desert” approaching leaders’ paranoia in Burma and North Korea.

Almost all blocked websites were accused of breaching Thailand’s infamous lèse-majesté law. Lèse-majesté, or the crime of injury to the royalty, is defined by Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, which states that defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the king, queen and regent are punishable by three to 15 years in prison.