Yingluck, lese majeste and the need for “loyalty”

6 11 2013

We at PPT was not at all sure why the “Deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, Lt. Sunisa Lertpakawat,” has felt the need to “reassure” Thailand and the world that “the Yingluck [Shinawatra]-led government has remained absolutely loyal to the monarchy – doing everything it can to defend the royal institution from any defamation.”

However, in the final paragraph of the short but very revealing story, it was revealed that this was a response to a proclamation by royal bloodline ninnies that came out for the Democrat Party-led opposition to the faulty amnesty law:

to clarify and reaffirm members of the royal lineage and concerned citizens of the government’s loyalty to the monarchy, Ms. Yingluck’s government has given full support to projects and activities aimed at promoting and showcasing the glory of Thailand’s royal institution, Lt. Sunisa pointed out.censorship-1

Sunisa shows that the present government is proud to record that the “Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have been working hard, in cooperation with the Royal Thai Police, to bring the [lese majeste] offenders to justice.”

Even more remarkably, Sunisa boasts that:

Yingluck’s government blocked and closed down nearly 22,000 URLs found violating the lese-majeste law, between December 7, 2011 and October 21, 2013; compared to the 2,700 closed down by former prime minister Abhisit’s administration. The number of cases reported cases has also dropped, said the deputy spokesperson.

Certainly, the number of cases has been reduced under the Yingluck government, which should be cause for some satisfaction. And, we do not believe that this is due to increased online censorship as much to the change of government and the decline in the use of lese majeste against political opponents, as was the case when Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party government was wielding 112 like a legal mace.

We might assume that the Yingluck royalists are indeed blocking almost 22,000 monarchy-related URLs, but earlier reports from this government made claims of higher numbers, with one report stating: “By mid-2012, MICT authorities claimed to have blocked 90,000 Facebook pages because of anti-monarchy content.” We are not sure that the figures for the Abhisit period of blocking are accurate, either. Earlier PPT posts on such data are mixed, depending on source, but this report seemed somewhat authoritative:

…[I]n 2007 there was one court order to block 2 URLs. In 2008, there were 13 court orders to block 2,071 URLs. In 2009, there were 64 orders to block 28,705 URLs. And in 2010, there were 39 court orders to block 43,908 URLs. Altogether within three years after the enforcement of the CCA, there have been 117 court orders to block access to 74,686 URLs.

The reasons of the order for the blocking of websites can be ranked as follows: 1) lèse majesté content (57,330 URLs); 2) pornographic content (16,740 URLs); 3) information about abortion (357 URLs); 4) content related to gambling (246 URLs); 5) other reasons such as blasphemy, phishing/pharming (making fake websites), and even websites with content seeing the government differently on issues related to the dispersal of protesters thus were deemed to create chaos and division within the public.

So while being boastful about censorship seems an activity of lunatics, the data are screwy. Revealingly, Yingluck’s minions seem as prepared as the previous lot of royalist lunatics to boast of their censorship “successes.”

As revealing is the final claim to “loyalty”:money

the government has allocated more budget from the 2014 national budget towards the promotion and protection of the institution of monarchy, increasing it to over 13 billion baht, 1.1 billion baht more than it did in 2013.

Clearly, the declining monarchy craves and needs “promotion and protection.” That protection will cost the taxpayer US$434 million in 2014! We’d guess that’s more than all of the remaining European monarchies put together. Throw in the vast earning of the Crown Property Bureau and the royals themselves, and this monarchy is drowning in lucre. But here’s the punchline on taxpayer funding: we think that amount represents just one of many budget lines for the monarchy.

That the Yingluck government feels under pressure is not in doubt, but boasting of its monarchism won’t save it, for the lot that support the Democrat Party, PAD, the Dhamma Army and so on believe that they are the rightful custodians of the monarchy and better placed to dole out protection and promotion.



2 responses

19 11 2013
Boringly predictable royal flunkies | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] M.L. claimed “the application of the law has been too relaxed.” Presumably responding to the government’s claims that it was “protecting” the royals through vigorous (and ultimately doomed) blocking […]

19 11 2013
Boringly predictable royal flunkies | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] M.L. claimed “the application of the law has been too relaxed.” Presumably responding to the government’s claims that it was “protecting” the royals through vigorous (and ultimately doomed) blocking of all […]

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