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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Thailand Blocks YouTube Over Video Insult To King

First Brazil blocked
YouTube
over a celebrity sex video. Then
Turkey blocked YouTube
over a video said to be insulting to country founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Now
it’s Thailand’s turn. YouTube is now blocked in Thailand after the service
apparently failed to remove a video clip deemed insulting to the country’s king.


Thailand Blocks YouTube Access
from Wall Street Journal and
Web
crackdown blocks YouTube in Thailand
from the International Herald Tribune
both have details. From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Sitthichai said YouTube was blocked Wednesday morning after its owner,
Google Inc., turned down his request to remove the Web page, which features a
44-second clip showing graffiti-like elements painted over a slide show of
photographs of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

"It’s a serious case of lèse-majesté," said Mr. Sitthichai, using the legal
term for the crime of offending the monarchy. "We asked Google to remove it
some days ago, but they refused to."

According to Mr. Sitthichai, thousands had called the government to
complain about the video.

Google, which you might recall
found itself in
legal hot water in Belgium after not reacting to a court filing there over
copyright issues, now seems to be figuring out the Thailand situation after the
fact. Again from the WSJ:

Google referred requests for comment to YouTube, whose head of global
communications, Julie Supan, said, "We are disappointed that YouTube has been
blocked in Thailand, and we are currently looking into the matter."

The video (this
seems to be the one,

based on
this Mail & Guardian article), is described as insulting in part
because:

The most offensive to Thai Buddhists was the juxtaposition of a pair of
woman’s feet, the lowest part of the body, above his head, the highest part of
the body.

Not insulting or issue enough for YouTube, however. The Mail & Guardian
article suggests that YouTube had previously looked into the matter and decided
it wasn’t an issue:

Sitthichai said YouTube had told Thai officials it did not find the clip
offensive, so it turned down the request to remove it.

Postscript:

YouTube offers to help Thais block offending pages from Reuters has a follow-up on YouTube working with the Thai government.


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