Today, 13th June 2017, the Thai authorities announced that almost all Facebook pages and YouTube videos ordered by a Thai court to be shut down over royal insults and other “inappropriate” content have been blocked.
Web pages with alleged royal insults were among a total of 965 pages deemed illegal, with others containing violence, copyright issues and other inappropriate content,.
“Among the 965 pages, 569 of them were on Facebook and 373 on YouTube.
“Although nearly 100 per cent has been blocked, the NBTC has instructed ISPs [internet service providers] to keep monitoring online content,’’ Takorn Tantasith, Secretary-General, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said.
Thailand’s strict lese-majesty law prohibits criticism and insults toward the royal family, with perpetrators facing years of imprisonment, if found guilty.
Since taking power in a May 2014 coup, the royalist military government has intensified a crackdown on lese-majesty violations.
More than 100 people have been arrested for alleged lese-majesty offences since the military takeover.
Most of them were detained for making comments or sharing posts on Facebook.
On Friday, a Thai man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for posts he made on Facebook. He was found guilty of insulting the country’s royal family on Facebook.
Identified only as Wichai, he is alleged to have published 10 photos, videos and comments on the social network that violate Thailand’s strict lèse majesté regulations that outlaw criticism of the royal family, according to free speech group iLaw.
The 35 years imprisonment is the longest sentence till date.
Another man, known as “Chaliew” was given 2.5 years in jail for posting a clip from a radio program to a file-sharing site in 2014. The clip was judged to have defamed the monarchy.
In early May, Thai internet providers sent a request to Facebook chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s managing director in Thailand, to block pages and posts deemed in violation of Thai laws.
Facebook confirmed that it is making pages and posts unavailable in Thailand on the junta’s request.