More monarchical madness

14 09 2014

Vocativ describes itself to be “a new type of media company, bringing audiences hidden perspectives, unheard voices and original ideas from around the world via the Deep Web…. Combining cutting-edge technology with bold journalism, Vocativ’s team examines a world of raw, vital information hidden deep within the digital space, unearthing fresh insights, concealed subcultures and rising trends early in their evolution.”

Its latest piece on Thailand is not really new or presenting anything hidden, at least not for readers of PPT. That said, its hipster style might reach a new audience, and it does have a picture evocative of the protection of a family that does look a bit like it is preparing for a part in The Walking Dead, and that picture is rather dated.

Walking dead

The story begins by advising that: “Insulting the Thai king is illegal, and the authorities there are stepping up their game to arrest people for royal Internet snark.” Actually, insulting the king, the queen, the heir apparent, regent and dead kings usually all result in jail terms, and PPT guesses that The Dictator wants to expand this already broader than the existing law definition of royals covered by the draconian law.

Sending out tweets “calling out the head of state as a total dick” are banned in Thailand, “where they’re getting more serious than ever about dissing the king.” The hipster reporting continues:

The country has something called lèse-majesté, a law that means if you are audacious enough to insult the king, it becomes a really big deal. Like a punishable-with-jail-time-of-50-years big deal. Like a censor-the-entire-Internet-until-you-find-all-the-king-burns big deal.

Thai authorities now plan to use a fancy, but unspecified, “surveillance device” to help them in their quest to dig out web users who badmouth royalty. Beginning Sept. 15, the government will use the device to target keywords related to lèse majesté and potentially use secured protocols to monitor communications, unconfirmed reports told Prachatai, an independent Thai news site.

The report goes on to acknowledge that “[s]elf-censorship among journalists is already rife. An editor of a national Thai newspaper told his staff not to browse any sites at work that may have anything to do with lèse majesté…”.

It refers to the case in July “when John Oliver called the crown prince of Thailand a ‘buffoon’ and made fun of a home video of the royal and his wife at a birthday party [opens a video banned in Thailand] for their pet poodle named Foo Foo.” It says that: “Thailand fought back, putting him on an official government list of international threats.”

The military dictatorship is bonkers for monarchy and this results in even more lese majeste madness:

Thai authorities have blocked tens of thousands of websites because of slander. The government banned YouTube in 2007 for two days just because one guy posted a video with an image of the king juxtaposed to an image of feet, an offensive symbol in Thai culture. And during the past few months, the censorship has gotten worse. The military junta that took power in May after months of protests passed a law on May 29 called “On the Control and Surveillance of the Use of Social Media,” making it legal to surveil all Thai Internet users. Now a device specifically running keyword searches to seek out lèse majesté breaches could be the government’s top weapon against Thai citizens who just want to get in on the king-slamming game.

And then the results of monarchy madness:

Recently, more lèse majesté cases than ever before have been brought to court. From January 2006 to May 2011, there was a 1,500 percent increase in cases involving royal insults. Whereas there were only four such cases in all the years between 1990 and 2005, that number in 2010 blew up to at least 400. In 2012, according to FreedomHouse, Thai courts blocked almost 21,000 URLs, thousands of which were taken down because of anti-royal content. Just 5,000 URLs had been blocked the previous year.

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha promises even more mad monarchism and the result is more looney lese majeste. All of this means more cases, more jailings, more censorship and the result is an ever weakened monarchy.


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7 02 2015
Updated: Lese majeste exorcism | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] events and at birthday parties [clicking the link opens a video banned in Thailand]. All of this nonsensical adoration of royal canines shows how silly yet sad Thailand’s royals and their sycophants are. Andrew […]

7 02 2015
Updated: Lese majeste exorcism | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] events and at birthday parties [clicking the link opens a video banned in Thailand]. All of this nonsensical adoration of royal canines shows how silly yet sad Thailand’s royals and their sycophants are. Andrew […]




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