Thailand Tries Twitter Censorship

Thailand Tries Twitter Censorship

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As the Guardian reports, the Thai government has become the first nation in the world to publicly endorse Twitter’s choice to censor certain types of messages in certain countries.

In this case, that would mean censoring messages that fall afoul of the kingdom’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, which have been used increasingly harshly in recent years – most recently, against an underage college student and an elderly man with cancer. He allegedly sent four text messages insulting the king, and was given twenty years in jail, even though the government couldn’t prove he had actually sent the messages.

The decision isn’t a major shock for Thailand; the governments of both the previous Democrat party and even the current Puea Thai party have been pouring ever-more resources into hunting for online content supposedly defaming the king. Thai leaders seem to have little understanding of how these witch-hunts are damaging their global image, and putting them in the same category as major media abusers like Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. China quickly jumped to support the Twitter policy as well.

But it’s a very worrisome move from Twitter. A major part of its appeal in closed countries is the idea that it provides an outlet for unpopular views, which could be repressed if spoken in other forums. But now, in Thailand — and probably numerous other countries — Twitter will simply keep those unpopular views out of the Twitterverse, giving a major win to censorship.

Joshua Kurlantzick is a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. He blogs at Asia Unbound, where this piece originally appeared. You can follow him on Twitter: @JoshKurlantzick

Comments
12
Ahem
February 7, 2012 at 17:07

Which evil corporation is Thailand does not exist?
Just last week Ital Thai signed a deal for Burmese business $11US Billion
and then went looking for the money ( loan borrow) to complete the deal?

Ahem
February 7, 2012 at 17:05

The first name choice lost by Two votes

It was “Excuse-land” no translation fitted it

Doc Strangelove
February 4, 2012 at 09:57

I agree. Boycott twitter. Google, Twitter they all use 60s counter cultural rhetoric to distance themselves from evil corporate America but they are the same animal.
The prime directive of the corporation is to make MONEY. Freedom and democracy are NOT issues to them what so ever.

Tweety Pie
February 3, 2012 at 14:57

Everyone on the internet can fight this. Just stop using Twitter. It’s a complete waste of time anyway. Get a life and stop tweeting. And don’t visit Thailand either.

Doc Strangelove
February 3, 2012 at 12:05

Are you forgetting Twitter’s compliance in the goon squad mentality????

Doc Strangelove
February 3, 2012 at 12:04

Why are you putting all the blame on Thailand…what about Twitter…..!

Doc Strangelove
February 3, 2012 at 12:03

What’s more evil, a nation that censors freedom of speech or a social network corporation that serves as a totalitarian tool to ensure this happens. I hope people around the world come together and pressure Twitter to stop doing this.

Joe
February 3, 2012 at 11:26

We should expect more from a 1st world company like Twitter though.

GPierre
February 3, 2012 at 11:11

I thought the name Thailand meant Land of the free????! Think again…

Tiago
February 3, 2012 at 09:34

Can you expect anything better from countries that discuss and/or pass legislation like SOPA/PIPA/ACTA?

Look at yourself before talking about third world countries, you are all on the verging of becoming that sort of country too.

Smith
February 3, 2012 at 09:21

Can you really expect much more from a 3′rd world country?

Siddharth
February 3, 2012 at 00:02

Thailand going China way!

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