Thai Government Forbids Any Online Contact With Three Overseas Critics Of The Monarchy
from the yeah,-that'll-work dept
As long-time Techdirt readers will know, Thailand does love it some lèse-majesté punishments. The country’s lèse-majesté law — literally “injured majesty” — is used to protect Thailand’s monarch from any kind of insult, however slight. It’s been applied time and again over the years — we first wrote about it back in 2007. In the past, the Thai government has done all the obvious things like demanding that local ISPs block sites, snooping on its citizens to find out who might be disrespecting the king, and threatening to throw even foreigners in prison for a very long time. But its latest move on the lèse-majesté front is rather a bold one: it has forbidden its citizens from having any online contact with three critics of the Thai monarchy and government. As the Guardian reports:
A letter from the [Thai] digital economy and society ministry warned citizens that engaging on the internet with the Thai academics Somsak Jeamteerasakul and Pavin Chachavalpongpun as well as the journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall could violate the law.
All three live in outside Thailand but have large online followings in the country for their commentary about the failings of both the junta and the monarchy.
The ministry statement said citizens should not follow, contact or share content from the trio on the internet or social media. The letter added that people who disseminate their information, directly or indirectly, could be violating the country’s Computer Crime Act.
The three people concerned are only able to voice their criticisms of the monarchy and government because they live outside the country — it would obviously be far too risky to do the same inside it. So this latest move is effectively an attempt to forbid Thai citizens from accessing “forbidden” material that lies beyond the Thai government’s direct control, and which has proved impossible to block using technical means. It will doubtless be just as futile.