Your Blog Is Banned By Me, Your Second Big Brother

Besides the shut down of Fah Diew Kun website (see FACT for more information), many Thai bloggers are still struggling with how they are going to survive in Thai blogophere.

Putushon (คุณปุถุชน) of the Republic of Poetry recently reported the deletion of his blog on OK Nation (in Thai). His account has been diminished on December 20. On January 8, the blog has been entirely disappeared with no warning. Prior to this incident, a couple of censoring acts were reported. For instance, Wayward’s blog has been banned because it is apparent that there was a strong language writing (Thanks Putushon for the backup copy). Independent Press, an anti-junta government blog, has also been deleted by OK Nation (Thanks Google Cache for at least the trail of this blog). Apparently these censoring actions have been conducted without prior notification.

OK Nation is a blog community platform run by the Nation Group, one of the major news organizations in Thailand. As of this writing, there are nearly 25,000 registered accounts with more than 150,000 posts. Interestingly enough, on OK Nation’s About Us page, it says (my own translation):

“OK Nation was established in order to building a place for intellectual freedom. Everyone has his own right to write and distribute via the Internet, the most effective communication channel.

The Nation Group as a media who are honest, trustworthy, updated, and creative, opens blogs for everyone to share stories in your daily life, experiences, knowledge and opinion to others freely.”

However, on the registration page, there are four criteria to apply the membership including:

  1. Filling information (in the registration form) completely and honestly.
  2. Any writings or opinions must not insult or affect the institution of nation, religion, and king or affect the stability of the nation.
  3. Do not use rude, insulting, instigating language giving faults to other or breaking up the society. Also do not include pornographic and obscene image, video clip and words.
  4. The content and opinions in the blog is not related to the web managing teach. They are the legal responsibility of member personally.

With an interesting ending saying:

“OK Nation reserves right to close any blog and delete any content or opinion that are against the above statement without prior notification to the blog or opinion owners.”

The censorship at OK Nation seems to be a very interesting case because it is the traditional media who try tries to handle citizen journalism. In these cases at OK Nation, I (expect to) see no response from the provider as they would refer to the agreement. Not surprisingly, those criteria in the agreement are quite common in any online community in Thailand. The exercises of censorship happen occasionally (to regularly) in Thai blogophere.

However, the communities run by traditional media might be a bit trickier when the conflict of interest arrives, in particular political ones. Independent blog providers seem to have less political agenda than traditional media. To date (to my knowledge), there are three major blog communities in Thailand that run by media agencies: OK Nation, MBlog run by Manager Group, and Prachatai‘s blogazine.

Obviously Manager have involved in many political activities in the last couple of years. Its political news are totally biased against ousted Prime Minister and his alliance. Prachatai also has political driven agenda. Its leaders also have political roles.

I suspected that the blogger at these communities have been aware of the political drive since they began are choosing these providers. For instance, any pro-Thaksin would rarely choose Manager’s MBlog. Interestingly enough, even though I could not find term of service or any agreement at registration of MBlog and blogazine, I have never heard about censorship from these two sources (Correct me if I am wrong about this!). If my assumption is held, the selection of provider plays significant role of how censorship would work here in Thailand.

Nation Group tries to represent itself as a neutral source to most people, although at some point of Thaksin period they were accused of being biased. They have also been experienced the survival of freedom of expression crisis. Thus, the image of Nation Group in terms of freedom of expression is generally highly regarded. Therefore, a number of bloggers would have joined OK Nation as its image of neutrality and independently independence.

However, without the clarification on any action of censorship, anything (even besides those mentioned in the agreement) could be claimed as a reason. Hence, if you are looking for blog provider and you know that you, at some point or at a moment of your blogging life, will enter the battle field of conflict, hosting with traditional media may not be the right choice for you.

Disclosure: I do not own or work for any blog service providers nor any news agencies. Although I host my blog on WordPress, I do not get any other benefits from WordPress besides a free blogging account.

20 responses to “Your Blog Is Banned By Me, Your Second Big Brother

  1. i sense the power of the dark side is growing strong and there is nothing we can do to prevent this. we should all go hosting websites in other countries such as russia or china, … again they could try blocking ip or domain, but at least they will not be able to erase everything.

    may be you should increase your reading skill instead of making such an irrelevant comment.

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  3. The Nation is extremely against Thaksin since the ITV incident many years ago. Anyway, it’s presentation is not such explicit as MGR. Some said to me that Nation is more dangerous because people will be carefully while reading MGR but not with the Nation.

    Since the user account in Bloggang is tie to Pantip ID, a lot of Bloggang users who pro-Thaksin were banned by their forum topics too.

  4. ตอนนี้ก็กลายเป็นว่าต่างคนต่างก็เซ็นเซอร์โดยที่ไม่มีการแจ้งให้ทราบล้วงหน้าเลย ปัญหาคือwordpress.comของพวกเรานิ จะมีโอกาสที่เขาจะเซ็นเซอร์ตัวเองหรือป่าว?(ต้องมีคนส่งเรื่องไปบอกเขาแน่เพราะเป็นบ.ฝรั่งจะไปรู้เรื่องอะไร) เป็นไปได้ไหมที่จะมีการบล็อคที่นี้ในอนาคต? แล้วพวกเราๆท่านๆทั้งหลายจะเตรียมตัวกันยังไงดี เพราะถ้าบล็อคทีหนึ่งก็โดนหมดทั้งหมด คนไทยเข้ามาใช้ไม่ได้เหมือนยูทุบตอนต้นปีก่อน

  5. goo กับ hia ไม่ใช่คำหยาบครับ
    คำแรกเป็นสรรพนามบุรุษที่หนึ่ง สงวนไว้ใช้เฉพาะกับคนรู้ใจเราเท่านั้น
    คำที่สองเป็นสัตว์ สี่ขา เลือดเย็น ครึ่งบกครึ่งน้ำ ลิ้นสองแฉก
    คำสรรพนาม กับชื่อชนิดสัตว์ จะแบนทำไมหว่า

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  8. The Nation’s editors are hypocrites. They ban anything that doesn’t agree with The Nation’s editorial line.

    I have been banned from their blogs just because I have been critical of the editors.

    Don’t agree with the Yoon brothers, Tulsathit, Sopon, Thanong and you are are banned.

    I suggest anybody can go read for themselves and see how many blogs are allowed that are critical of the Yoon brothers and The Nation.

    By the way, why are the Yoon brothers allowed to control such a large piece of Thailand’s media? Where else in the world are two brothers allowed to control a large portion of a nation’s newspapers and TV channels.

    They are a disgrace to Thai journalism. After the coup, they propagated for the junta on the military channels.

    They have never been impartial, and, quite frankly, they are not even good journalists.

  9. One thing you have to realize that OK Nation is a private company. It’s not government, which belong to Thais.
    First of all, we don’t know the true behind this incident. (So I don’t claim any thing.)

    And OK Nation makes it very clear in number 3 and they also reserve the right to close the blog, which they did.

    They should, however; have warned the author first. And they shouldn’t have posted with unsuitable warning.

    So what??…..the Nation is also the NEWS company, their action must be on the right behavior. They can’t report the falsity or unfaithful news. We can also not support the Nation (only when they don’t do their job).

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  14. Forgive me for being able to express myself best in English. iTeau’s article is significant and the comments posted reflect the uncertainty of the climate for bloggers in Thailand.

    The atmosphere of censorship (and we must include self-censorship) is pervasive in every layer of Thai society. Perhaps we accept it, feel like we need it, maybe even miss it when it’s gone! Creating a climate in which Thais are really ready for free expression (and, yes, that does include the monarchy, pornography, drugs and terrorism) is a long and arduous process.

    Thais are well-known for their tolerance. But we also are far too sensitive and easily offended. I think we need acceptance that everyone has a right to their opinion. Moreover, that everyone must be allowed a voice. That the opinions of others should not make us feel threatened.

    I find it hard to believe that a single Thai person would be turned away from loving Nai Luang by any website or webboard posting or send away for a pair of sandals with the Buddha’s face on them…so why block them? For example, why block all the links and reviews to The King Never Smiles? If we think about this for just a millisecond, what, exactly, is it we’re afraid of?

    Of course, this can easily be seen by rich fatcats and government lackeys jostling in the queue to prove themselves more-Royal-than-thou. A particular villain is the Ministry of Culture. The ICT ministry are simply incompetent but the Ministry of Culture arrogates itself to determine what is Thai enough for all of us; IMNSHO, that’s not only wrong but evil.

    For the first time I can remember, even I found myself self-censoring the posts which shut down Fah Diew Kan. When I found them on Hello ! Siam and found they were intelligent, articulate, sensible and reasonable, I immediately wanted to republish them to FACTsite. But I allowed myself to be talked out of this because the the point is not to protect every opinion but to defend the right to freely express them. More importantly, to allow the wider community has access to ALL opinions.

    If we allow censorship in Thailand meekly, who will police the censors? Why is censorship always practiced, in every country, as secret government? OK Nation’s situation is hardly unique. Not only government, but all of Thailand’s more than 100 ISPs, use Thailand’s new cybercrime law as justification for independently blocking websites and pulling the plug on servers. Think about it: private companies which control what you see and read.

    We also need to consider the link between censorship and violence. If Thai government did not repress the Muslim South and allowed them to express their own opinions perhaps their young men would not find such an urgent need to make more bombs. We have no right to ban organisations such as PULO: they are as Thai as we.

    Citizen journalism is always in the public interest. For one thing, we’re doing it for free. And we’re not responsible to anyone but ourselves and our community so we don’t need to put a spin on it.

    The best, and only acceptable, form of censorship is purely personal: Don’t like it? Don;t look!

    Please sign FACT’s petition against all censorship:

    CJ Hinke
    Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)

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