Petition to Internet Censorship in Thailand

AFP reported on a group of Thai people filed a petition with Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission.

FACT [abbreviated for Freedom Against Censorship Thailand], which was formed earlier this month, is the first organization of its kind in Thailand seeking to end the censorship of more than 35,000 websites in the country.

The group said the government blocks 2,500 web pages, including some from the BBC, CNN, Yahoo News and articles from Yale University Press about Thailand’s King Bhumibhol Adulyadej.

At least 11 percent of the websites blocked contained criticism of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra or his Thai Rak Thai party, the government’s handling of the violence in southern Thailand, and the September 19 coup that overthrew Thaksin, the group said.

A part of the petition includes 11 unanswered questions for the ministry of ICT. Here are the excerpts.

  1. What legal framework is the website blocking based upon? (Note that the Computer Crime Act has just been passed through the cabinet recently. The act has not been enacted yet.) Otherwise, the ministry will breach the section 37 of the 1997 constitution (which now has been torn down by the coup).
  2. ICT declined to be responsible for the guidelines. Then, who actually developed the guidelines?
  3. ICT declined to define the term “inappropriate”, “obscene”, and “illegal” which are very broad, vague, and dependable on each society.
  4. Who in the ministry in charge of ordering the censorship?
  5. Were the considerations based on individual or committee?
  6. Who is the person who could finalize whether a website should be blocked?
  7. Who is the only person who inspect and monitor the Internet?
  8. The decline to answer the question is actually breaching the Freedom of Public Information Act.
  9. The ministry also declined to give the information about who else involve or cooperate the blocking of websites. Such common free hostings, e.g. Angelfire and Geocities, have also been blocked in general.
  10. The ministry has to consider the censorship of webboard on a different basis from the blocking of websites. Also they has to identify the reason of blocking public opinions.
  11. Google has been requested to block websites by keywords. The ministry has to clearly reveal those keywords.

The petition is still opening. You can sign the petition at FACT blog. On its blog, there are a number of interesting entries regarding the Internet censorship in Thailand.

[via Yahoo News]

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