Prachatai - 2 June 2007 - Amidst rising concern over Internet censorship in the country, the Information and Communication Ministry (ICT) on Friday raised another "concern" over a "satiric" view allegedly carried in the popular online newspaper website Prachatai.com.
It was the third such warning the ministry made to this website after earlier communications in April and May, as a result of "concerns" raised by the Council for National Security and the National Intelligence Agency respectively.
Citing hints from "fellow" reporters and some individuals, Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom made two direct phone calls Friday to Prachatai.com manager, Miss Chiranuch Premchaiporn, expressing concern over a particular "satiric" content in Prachatai web discussion board.
According to Chiranuch, it was not clear as to the satiric nature of the message in questions, as well as for whom it was meant. The ministry official later gave details of this questionable content which Prachatai had already deleted.
Prachatai.com viewers hit 200,000 a day after the historic verdicts of the Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday that dissolved the biggest Thai Rak Thai party and cleared the oldest Democrat party of election fraud. The website is equipped with a backup system for heavy downloads. It has recently launched an English version to widen its readers.
According to Miss Chiranuch, Prachatai editorial staff ensured the site carried no offensive contents with regard to libel action or disrespect for the monarchy. She said the website welcome any concern regarding the nature of content in its discussion forum, taking into consideration, respect of freedom of expression.
"However, with increasing readers and various contents, we will be grateful to all readers to inform us of any inappropriate messages, particularly those in the web board, to relief the burden on the part of the editorial staff" said Chiranuch.
"Such communication would be most useful if substantiate with details of any contents or messages deemed inappropriate," said Chiranuch.
"Prachatai welcome the ministry acting in its good nature," said Chiranuch, "we prepare to cooperate with the ministry."
Meanwhile, the Nation News Agency and the Public Relation Department also quoted Mr Sittichai as saying that his ministry will close any website that contain information deemed creating division or unrest in the kingdom. Earlier, the ministry only targets contents deemed defamatory or insulting to the monarchy.
Sittichai said ministry officials have now busied monitoring contents of most websites. He also asked web administrators to frequently monitor and delete any contents that might arouse political turmoil. The minister said he had asked some comments in Prachatai.com and pantip.com websites be scrapped as these views instigated for political mobilization.
Translated by Mukdawan Sakboon