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article imageThailand cracking down on Facebook comments on king

By Owen Weldon     Nov 29, 2011 in World
Officials in Thailand issued a warning to people who use Facebook. Users could end up facing prosecution, if they participate in certain activities on the social networking site, such as criticizing the monarchy.
Users of Facebook could end up getting prosecuted under lese-majeste laws, if they participate in certain activities on the site. If users “share” or “like” articles or images that the Thai monarchy consider unflattering, then they could face prosecution.
According to SMH, lese-majeste offenses committed overseas could be targeted too. There are signals that that is the case, take the prosecution of a Thai-born US citizen who translated a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The announcement about Facebook came just a day after a man was jailed for 20 years for sending text messages that were considered to be offensive to the monarchy, according to the Herald. Critics have said that the laws hamper free speech.
Anudith Nakornthap is the country’s information minister and he said that officials in Thailand contacted Facebook and asked for their assistance in deleting stuff off the site that is considered offensive to the monarchy of Thailand.
According to Nakornthap, more than 10,000 URLs insult the monarchy, and people should not comment or “like” the posts. He said doing so would be indirect dissemination of the material in the eyes of the law.
According to the Next Web, in the past Thailand has sought out cooperation from international tech firms over “offensive” content. YouTube was actually blocked back in 2006. Officials in Thailand found 20 videos on YouTube, and they deemed the videos offensive to the monarchy. YouTube eventually became unblocked after Google decided to make sure the content could not be accessed by users in Thailand.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur urged the Thai government to harmonize their laws in a way that would fit with human rights standards. This is a result of the rise in lese majeste cases.
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