Reporters Without Borders has listed Thailand as one of the countries “under surveillance” in its updated “Enemies of the Internet” report released on 12 March. The report on Thailand can be found here.
Most of what is in the report will be known to regular readers at PPT, including the political use of lese majeste and laws on computer crimes, states of emergency and internal security. The comment that “Surveillance is becoming the norm” is worth considering. RWB notes that:
Under normal circumstances, the Internet is controlled and monitored by the Thai Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which blocks those sites which it deems offensive, mainly those charged with violating the lèse majesté law. However, since the authorities view this crime as an offence against national security, the army and police force are also implicated.
Informing is also encouraged.
RWB adds that the repressive climate created by censorship is intentional:
… multiple prosecutions are also intended to intimidate other Internet users likely to criticise the King and to force them to practice self-censorship. Other netizens have been briefly arrested or interrogated, but their exact number is difficult to determine, because many of those charged are avoiding any publicity for fear of reprisals and the authorities are obliged to open an inquiry whenever a lèse majesté complaint is filed.
PPT identifies this as a climate of fear, meant to intimidate and demanding of self-censorship.