The Bangkok Post reports (taking the story from AP) that the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has used the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s emergency powers to block access to the WikiLeaks. The grounds for blocking the site are “national security.” As is well-known, WikiLeaks “is a multi-jurisdictional public service designed to protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public.” WikiLeaks came to international attention a few weeks ago when it released thousands of US administration documents on the military conflict in Afghanistan.
As everyone knows, when the MICT or the broader regime talks “national security,” then they are making a claim about the monarchy. However, the report makes it appear as though the blocking – which, in fact, began haphazardly about a month ago, when WikiLeaks came to prominence – is somehow related to political unrest: “The order came from the government unit set up to oversee the response to political unrest that rocked Bangkok earlier this year…”. It was stated that: “Access to this website has been temporarily suspended under the 2005 emergency decree…”.
But then the report goes on to mention the extensive blocking of pages “mainly for insulting the monarchy, a serious crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail. A special cyber crime agency has also been set up to stamp out online criticism of the royal family.”
A quick survey of WikiLeaks material on Thailand shows the following:
- Suppressed video of Thai Crown Prince and Princess at decadent dog party
- Prof. Giles Ji Ungpakorn’s Red Siam Manifesto, 9 Feb 2009
- Hessisches Ministerium und Lufthansa Cargo veranlassen Vergasung 14849 kerngesunder Kueken, Nov 2008
- Thailand judicial order to block 408 new articles and videos including Harry Nicolaides imprisonment reportage, 14 Jan 2009
- Thailand blocklist for 408 new articles and videos including Harry Nicolaides imprisonment reportage, 14 Jan 2009
- Imprisoned Australian author Harry Nicolaides censored novel: Verismilitude, 2005
- Imprisoned Australian author Harry Nicolaides censored novel: Verismilitude, extract, 2005
- A Coup for the Rich: Thailand’s Political Crisis, 2007
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Follow-up on project staff (AR2005-162-01), 6 Jun 2006
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: Audit of Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific (AE2005-366-02), 29 Dec 2005
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Audit of Operations in Myanmar (AR2005-141-01), 26 Aug 2005
- Thailand official MICT censorship list, 20 Dec 2008
- European Commission: The Community interest test in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy proceedings, 13 Jan 2006
- Thailand interim constitution (2006)
As can be seen, there is a bunch of material readily available. Probably the item that has caused the blocking is the first one, on the prince, his wife and the dog, Fu Fu, but that has already been very widely circulated in Thailand and is well-known now after several years of posting and re-posting.
Update 1: Some readers tell us that WikiLeaks is still accessible via some ISPs in Thailand. As noted above, the blocking has been somewhat haphazard.
Update 2: Readers might find the story by John Pilger on WikiLeaks of some interest. It isn’t on Thailand, but a timely article.