YouTube locally blocks speech about monarchy reform at Thai government’s request

A video of human rights lawyer Anon Nampa in which he addresses monarchy reform is inaccessible from Prachatai’s YouTube channel. A YouTube spokesperson has stated via email that it is operating in line with a Thai government request.

The screen states: Video unavailable
This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.

“We need to oblige in line with the law of every country that we operate our business. In this case, we acted according to the court order and limit the access to the video. We are considering our legal alternatives to find every possible way to support the user’s expression,” states the email.

The video records Anon’s speech at the protest at Thammasat University on 10 August where he emphasizes the need to reform the monarchy by limiting royal prerogatives in line with democratic principles.

According to the Google Transparency Report that is published every 6 months, during 2009-2019 the Thai government submitted 964 requests to delete content. The criticism toward the government are the most requested to be deleted with the number of 26,891 or 99% of the requests.

Of the requests, only 62 were endorsed by the Thai courts. The rest were made by government authorities. In the second half of 2019, the Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha government submitted requests to delete 1,238 URLs, all of which contain criticism of the government.

The report also states that in the past 3 years (since the latter half of 2018), Google has complied in blocking content at the high rate of 70-96% of the government requests.

Since 2013, Google has not distinguished between requests to block criticism of the government and those to block criticism of the monarchy.

In August 2020, Puttipong Punnakanta, Minister of the Digital Economy and Society, tweeted that in 2020, Facebook blocked only 1,316 out of 4,767 URLs named in court orders while YouTube blocked 1,507 out of 1,616.



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