Saturday, May 05, 2007

The battle of wills between Thai government and Google Youtube stepped up a level this week when the MICT (Ministry for Information Communications Technology) announced it will/want/might/shall sue Youtube.

Rather than repeat an entire story, I will - as a one off - copy the style of other bloggers by copying over the entire Bangkok Post article and offering my own comments on the way.

Thailand's Information and Communications Technology Ministry will sue for running a video clip offending the monarchy, and accused the Internet operator of lying when it claimed it could not remove the clip.

This is the same Sittichi who admits the Internet for him is "not exciting" and confesses he is not "tech savvy" telling the fastest growing internet firm about their own technology.

ICT Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom told a meeting of Webmasters yesterday that he would proceed with court action as suggested by the forum.

He said Google, which owns YouTube, had agreed to China's request that some clips be censored. He said he could not see why YouTube could not do the same for Thailand.
"This YouTube issue is about a private firm in the U.S. trying to bully a small country like Thailand," Mr Sitthichai said.

Yes you got that right. Make no mistake, the MICT are part of the junta. The military coup faction - who took power through tanks, guns and soldiers and then displayed utter incompetence at their job have accused Google You Tube - who have recently spent substantial sums to setting up a charity arm of the company to help impoverished countries - of being "bullies" for not obeying Thailand's lese majeste laws over in America.

The government's decision to block access to the clips was not politically motivated as it was done to prevent public anger from watching them.

Paiboon Amornpinyokiat, consultant of the Thai Webmasters Association, recommended the government secure a court order in the United States to coax YouTube into cooperation. He said the government's approach to the issue may be construed ("construed" as in "clearly was") as an order, to which the Web site may be reluctant to respond.

No mention so far as to what act or law will be used to enforce this. I'm no legal expert, but I fail to see how a law broken in Thailand can be used to sue an American business.

Lese majeste is illegal (in Thailand not in the US!!!!!!) and so it was reasonable for the government to seek a court order (in the US?) to ban the Web site, he said.

The minister and representatives of the association joined a discussion on freedom of expression in the digital age at the Thai Journalists Association on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day yesterday.

Mr Sitthichai, meanwhile, denied the government had violated media freedom, saying it blocked only 16 Web sites as opposed to 9,000 Web sites banned by the previous government.

This is a either an out and out lie, a mistranslation or spin. There are just as many sites blocked now and in fact, I think what Sitthichai means is that they have only blocked sixteen more since he came in. I also view this statistic with great scepticism.

Though non-elected, the government was more democratic, he said. (I'm lost for words here)
Paiboon proposed the government promote self-censorship among Webmasters. founder Wanchat Padungrat said that instead of blocking Web sites, the government should encourage constructive ways of expression, for the sake of reconciliation. He said a clear and specific law was needed to combat cybercrimes.
Also Thursday, YouTube's owner Google opened an office in Singapore, in a move thought to be unrelated to the Thailand dispute.
The search juggernaut said it wanted to be closer to its customers and advertisers in Southeast Asia, a market of half a billion people.

In addition to the above, the Radio Thailand news bulletin yesterday quoted the MICT as saying( and I quote this carefully) :

"The MICT said the government should look into enforcing its Lese Majeste laws throughout the world"

If you didn't know they mean it, you'd laugh your head off.

HM The King has already said in his birthday speech that he welcomes criticism. However, Lese Majeste laws deter this.

Imagine, you are sitting in a bar in Australia, your home in the States or a library in England. You see a documentary or read a book and you make a comment concerning sufficiency economy or voice concern over certain other issues I dare not mention. If these Junta had their way, you'd be whisked off to a court house. It's bad enough they restrict freedom to their own nation.

To believe they should do it "throughout the world" shows not only how outmoded they are, but just how insecure and out of touch with reality they are to think they have the means, right, respect, or ability to do so.

The good people of Thailand are more than capable of making up their own minds without thought control from the antiqauted junta.

No comments: