360° Coverage : Thai Facebook users get censorship scare

Thai Facebook users get censorship scare

May 28 2014, 7:34am CDT | by

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's new military rulers said that a sudden interruption of access to Facebook on Wednesday was not part of a censorship policy, but due instead to a technical hitch.

The afternoon blockage did not affect all users but drew a flurry of attention online. It lasted for at least an hour and came just a day after the new military government announced an Internet crackdown. The junta has banned dissemination of information that could cause unrest, effectively banning criticism of last week's coup.

A statement from the junta, called the National Council for Peace and Order, declared that "there is no policy to suspend or close down Facebook."

It said an inspection found that there was a "technical error" at the telecommunications gateway that connects Internet service providers to international circuits, and it had ordered the problem fixed.

Deputy army spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree later came on television to offer the same explanation and announce that the problem had been corrected. All television stations must broadcast official announcements from the junta, which seized power May 22 in what it said was a bid to end more than six months of sometimes violent political disorder. Newspapers and TV and radio stations are exercising self-censorship.

On Tuesday, the government's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology told the Thai press that a new national gateway was being planned to filter the Internet more effectively, and that social media was being monitored closely for violations of the new censorship rules.

Thanit Prapatanan, director of the ministry's Office of Technology Communications Crime Prevention and Suppression, said Wednesday that his office has shut down at least 330 websites since the junta's censorship orders came out, but he denied shutting down Facebook in Thailand.

"We're blocking access to webpages that could incite chaos, instigate violence or division or pose a threat to national security. We are looking at the individual pages. For example, on Facebook, we only look for such posts, not looking to shut down Facebook in Thailand as a whole. But if there are any pages that violate the order, we will definitely block it."

Before the interruption, a junta spokesman also said services such as Facebook would not be targeted for shutdown, but individuals would be investigated.

"People put hate speech in social media and create confusion and division in society," Col. Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak said at a news conference.

Even under elected leadership, Thailand has exercised unusual control over the Internet, blocking thousands of web pages containing pornography or material deemed insulting to the nation's royal family. Criticism of the monarchy — online or elsewhere — is a crime punishable up to 15 years in jail.

Several years ago, the government reached an agreement with YouTube that allowed it to block selected pages to viewers in Thailand. The government and the army also maintain teams of watchers to monitor web boards and other sites for inappropriate content.

___

AP writer Thanyarat Doksone contributed to this report.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Finnish scientists identify new type of black hole
Helsinki, Oct 31 (IANS) Finnish researchers have discovered a new type of low-mass black hole, which is a bright celestial body that emits X-ray, the University of Turku has said.
 
 
Union Carbide ex-chief Warren Anderson is dead
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, former chief executive officer of the Union Carbide Corporation, is dead, a media report said Friday. He was 92.
 
 
Himalayan Viagra fuels gold rush for local Tibetans
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Overwhelmed by people trying to find the prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to implement a successful system for the sustainable harvest of the precious natural resource, suggests research.
 
 
Oceans were always there on Earth: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Debunking previous theories that water came late to Earth well after the planet had formed, researchers have significantly moved back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in the inner solar system.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Finnish scientists identify new type of black hole
Helsinki, Oct 31 (IANS) Finnish researchers have discovered a new type of low-mass black hole, which is a bright celestial body that emits X-ray, the University of Turku has said. Researchers at the Finnish university...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Union Carbide ex-chief Warren Anderson is dead
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, former chief executive officer of the Union Carbide Corporation, is dead, a media report said Friday. He was 92. His death revived memories of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. He...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Himalayan Viagra fuels gold rush for local Tibetans
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Overwhelmed by people trying to find the prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to implement a successful system for the sustainable...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Oceans were always there on Earth: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Debunking previous theories that water came late to Earth well after the planet had formed, researchers have significantly moved back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Wearable health devices key for safe space tourism
New York, Oct 31 (IANS) At a time when several firms are developing spacecrafts to take ordinary citizens on short trips into space, scientists have outlined the risks and challenges involved in human commercial...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Early Walmart Cyber Monday 2014 Sale and Holiday 2014 Sale announced
Walmart has revealed their first Holiday 2014 sales details. Starting Saturday Walmart will offer over 20,000 rollback deals. New this year are early Walmart Cyber Monday 2014 sales starting midnight on walmart.com.On...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Nestle to introduce robots as sales clerks
Tokyo, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) Nestle will use robots as sales clerks at its outlets selling coffee makers in Japan, an initiative that will later spread worldwide, a Nestle spokesperson confirmed to EFE news agency....
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Healthy diet for infants prevents obesity later
New York, Oct 31 (IANS) If you do not want your baby to grow up into an overweight adult, make sure you feed him or her healthy diet from the very first year, a study suggests. Babies who eat diets high in sugar, fat...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Popular mosquito catcher in Japan uses human odour as bait
Tokyo, Oct 31 (IANS) A novel mosquito trap that lures its prey using human scent and other smells favoured by the critter is creating a buzz as Japan frets about the spread of dengue fever. The boxlike device is the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Antarctic ozone hole stands steady: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) The Antarctic ozone hole has reached its annual peak size and holds steady, say scientists, trying to determine if the ozone hole trend over the last decade is a result of temperature...
Read more on Business Balla