Thailand blocks 5,000 'royal insult' web pages

Thai teenagers surf the Internet
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.


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Citation: Thailand blocks 5,000 'royal insult' web pages (2012, March 14) retrieved 24 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-thailand-blocks-royal-insult-web.html
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Mar 14, 2012
Who else has strict internet laws? I wonder if there are any conspicuous changes in foreign investment.

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.

Mar 16, 2012
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