I wrote about where Thailand is on the rank of freedom of press (in general) in the beginning of this month. Business Week later covers the article focusing the top Nations that Censor the Net including Myanmar, China, Belarus, Iran, Tunisia, Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Vietnam, North Korea, Syria, and Uzbekistan.
Folks at Blognone sound happy that Thailand is not in the list. So where is Thailand in Internet Censorship then?
I went back to Reporters without border again, the source of my earlier post and Business Week, to look at the list again. Well, although Thailand is not among 13 top countries, It seems obviously that Thailand is list in top 25. [The report is also available in PDF]
The government filters the Internet as part of its fight against pornography and has used it to extend censorship well beyond this. The method employed is also sly, since when a user tries to access a banned site, a message comes back saying “bad gateway,” instead of the usual “access refused” or “site not found.” In June 2005, the websites of two community radio stations very critical of the government were shut down after it pressed their ISP to do so.
I hope this is not the thing to be happy or proud of. I hope the Internet government would be transparent as his administrative style too, or at least be honest. (See also
Spirits of Censorship: Thailan’s ICT Ministry) I personally do agree that Thailand needs some reasonable level of control over the Internet. However, the bottom line is that they need to be honest, responsible, justifiable, and consistent. I’m sure that people would understand and cooperate.