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Thailand backs Twitter censorship policy

By Alessio Fratticcioli     Feb 1, 2012 in World
Bangkok - Thai government becomes first to endorse Twitter's controversial decision to permit country-specific censorship of content.
Twitter announced last week it would allow censorship in order to respect local laws, prompting debate worldwide over freedom of speech.
Thailand's Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICTM) said Twitter's move to censor or block content regarded as offensive in particular countries was a "welcome development".
'Thailand Couldn't Be Happier About Twitter's Censorship', Forbes titled.
In Thailand, censorship laws are already tough and heavily enforced, with the Computer Crime Act regarded by critics and experts as having a troubling and detrimental impact on freedom of expression in the country.
Political activist Sombat Boonngamanong said censorship was appropriate only in the case of human rights violations or criminal activity, but not for expressing political views.
"It's a dangerous and sensitive issue to censor political views," he said.
In addition to the Computer Crime Act, Bangkok enforces a draconian lese-majeste law, which shields the Royal Family from criticism or public debate.
Lese-majeste, also known as law 112, is widely regarded as "neither necessary nor proportionate" and as a violation of Thailand’s international human rights obligations.
Nevertheless, the government vowed its determination to block any form of amendment and a group of Thai scholars who proposes changes has been intimidated and threatened.
In a country with a long history of socio-political violence, a dangerous standoff is building up between the ultra-conservative, hyper-royalist and pro-censorship bloc and those urging to reform the current legislation.
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