Online Censorship in Thailand: Internet Business Law

Online Censorship in Thailand: Internet Business Law

IBLS Editorial Department- Staff Attorney
Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thailand has a long history of government- authorized censorship. The 2007 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and the 1997 Constitution guarantee freedom of speech with the proviso that censorship may be imposed in certain circumstances. Additionally, Thailand’s Computer-Related Crimes Act, which was introduced by the military junta, imposes some limitations by penalizing a range of computer-related speeches.

The 2007 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand guarantees freedom of speech but a law may impose censorship ‘for the purpose of maintaining the security of the State, protecting the rights, liberties, dignity, reputation, family or privacy rights of other persons, maintaining public order or good morals or preventing or halting the deterioration of the mind or health of the public.’

One of the first orders passed by the military junta that took power in Thailand on September 19, 2006, was to appoint an Official Censor of the Military Coup. The military junta took its cue from the overthrown elected government, which had publicly stated that it intended to block 800,000 Websites from Internet users in Thailand. Between the ascension of the military junta and Thailand’s general election in December 2007, the Official Censor blocked 17,793. In addition, the Royal Thai Police claimed having blocked a further 32,500 Websites.

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