Thailand blocks 5,000 'royal insult' web pages

March 14, 2012
Thai teenagers surf the Internet at the computer center of Rajabhat University in Bangkok in 2011. Thai authorities have blocked thousands of web pages deemed insulting to the monarchy in the past three months, police said Wednesday, amid growing debate about the kingdom's lese majeste law.

Thai authorities have blocked thousands of web pages deemed insulting to the monarchy in the past three months, police said Wednesday, amid growing debate about the kingdom's lese majeste law.

More than 5,000 pages with content deemed to be critical of the royal family were taken down between December and March, Thailand's national police spokesman Piya Utayo told reporters.

"We found that the number of inappropriate or insulting posts was less and less," he said, without explaining the cause of the reduction.

Lese majeste, or article 112 of the Thai criminal code, is designed to protect senior royals from insult, but academics say it has been politicised in recent years.

The royal family is an extremely sensitive subject in Thailand, with 84-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej revered as a demi-god by many.

Social media websites such as and are providing a platform for both critics of the law and ultra-monarchists, who have encouraged Internet users to report posts that are regarded as insulting the royals.

On Monday, media rights group said in a report that the current Thai government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had presided over a worsening of .

"If Thailand continues down the slope of content filtering and jailing netizens on lese majeste charges, it could soon join the club of the world's most repressive countries as regards the Internet," the report said.

Under Thailand's strict lese majeste rules, insulting the monarchy or a member of the can result in jail terms of up to 15 years. Anyone can file a lese majeste complaint, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

And under Thailand's computer crime law, introduced in 2007, acts of defamation and posting false rumours online are punishable by five years in jail.

Recent cases have sparked fierce debates, including over a 61-year-old man who was jailed in November for 20 years for deemed insulting to the monarchy.

A Thai political activist was sentenced in February to seven and a half years in prison for insulting the monarchy.

Explore further: Thailand censors more websites as protests persist

Related Stories

Thailand censors more websites as protests persist

May 8, 2010

(AP) -- George Orwell's "1984" had its Big Brother, and Thailand has Ranongrak Suwanchawee. The country's information minister stares down from billboards along Bangkok's expressways, warning that "Bad websites are detrimental ...

Thailand blocks access to WikiLeaks website

August 18, 2010

Thai authorities have used their emergency powers to block domestic access to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website on security grounds, a government official said Wednesday.

Cyberactivists unblock Wikileaks for Thai Netizens

August 20, 2010

(AP) -- A group of anonymous Internet activists has set up a website to display information about Thailand that comes from the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, which is blocked to some viewers in the Southeast Asian country.

Thai 'cyber scouts' patrol web for royal insults

May 11, 2011

Wearing his special "cyber scout" polo shirt with pride, Thattharit Sukcharoen scans the Internet pages on his computer in search of remarks deemed offensive to Thailand's revered monarchy.

Thai PM's Twitter account hacked

October 2, 2011

Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra came under fire from her own Twitter account on Sunday when it was briefly taken over by an anonymous hacker who accused her of incompetence.

Thailand welcomes Twitter censorship tool

January 30, 2012

Thailand, which regularly cracks down on Internet content deemed critical of its revered monarchy, on Monday welcomed social media giant Twitter's controversial new censorship policy.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 14, 2012
Who else has strict internet laws? I wonder if there are any conspicuous changes in foreign investment.
not rated yet Mar 15, 2012
Oh man, I have *got* to get me one of these "royal insult" web pages!

I wonder how subtle I have to be in order to get past the censors?

Also, is this international sites or just a local-to-Thailand sort of thing? I couldn't tell from the article, despite their mentioning Facebook and Twitter.

Besides, calling the Thai monarchy "dumb" is an insult not to THEM, but to boxes of hammers everywhere.
not rated yet Mar 16, 2012
Meanwhile we have a British Subject about to be extradited to the U.S. for violating U.S. law by maintaining a list of URL's that offend the American RIAA.

Oh, and of course America not only blocked his website but threatened to destroy the hosting service that was employed by the young English man, unless that service destroyed the young man's website. Destroy - not block.

Mar 16, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.