Over 1,203 Sites Blocked in Thailand

By: Jillian C. York on 22 December 2008

Over the weekend, it was reported by WikiLeaks that the secret censorship lists of Thailand's Ministroy of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) had been obtained by advisory board member CJ Hinke, who is the director of Freedom Against Censorship Thailand.

Wikileaks reports that the 1,203 newly blocked sites are located in over 20 different countries including Canada, France, and Australia, and that each blocked site is internally noted as being blocked due to "lèse majesté," or criticism of the King. The group states that it is apparent that many of the sites were not examined closely, however, and appear not to violate that particular law at all.

Of the blocked sites, over 860 are YouTube videos, and 200 sites mirroring those videos are being filtered as well. Wikileaks states that "Curiously, Hillary Clinton's campaign videos, and 24 Charlie Chaplin videos are also on the censorship lists."

Although the OpenNet Initiative has not yet confirmed the reports, Thailand has been found to selectively filter political sites in the past. ONI's full report on Thailand can be found here.

Wikileaks calls for transparency from the MICT, saying: "Typically, web censorship in Thailand is conducted in secret. We think there is a right to know inherent in a free society. We call for transparency and accountability in government and freedom of expression, freedom of communication and freedom of association as fundamental human rights."