Thailand embraces Twitter’s new censorship policy


by Tineka Smith| 30 January 2012

Thailand is the first country to publicly show support for Twitter’s new policy on censoring tweets

According to the Bangkok Post, the Information and Communications Permanent Secretary, Jeerawan Boonperm said the ICT Ministry will be in talks with Twitter soon to collaborate on the site's new feature. She said that Twitter's decision to censor content that is regarded as illegal or offensive in certain countries was a "welcome development."
The ICT Permanent secretary also pointed out that Google and Facebook are already very cooperative in respecting Thai laws. It was revealed in a 2011 report that Thailand had been successful in its request to remove 225 videos deemed offensive from YouTube.

There have also been a number of Thais arrested for posting content on the internet and Facebook that was considered violating Thailand's lese majeste law. The lese majeste law makes it illegal for anyone to make insulting comments about the royal family which can land someone in prison for 15 years.

Twitter's controversial announcement that it would withhold content from users in a specific country as needed has been met with criticism. The micro-blogging site, however, stands firm that this feature is a valid legal process and is necessary for the site to exist in some countries.

The new policy makes it easier for the site to react and "to manage a complicated international legal and regulatory environment," as some social media experts have said.

The President of the Thai Journalists Association, Chavarong Limpattamapanee explained to Bangkok Post that Twitter's policy shows an understanding that laws in certain countries should be respected.

"Local users must still comply with local law. Freedom of speech is a human right, but this freedom is not borderless. One must be responsible."

In China, where Twitter is currently blocked, a Daily Chinese tabloid, Global Times, supported Twitter's new policy in an article saying:

"It is impossible to have boundless freedom, even on the internet and even in countries that make freedom their main selling point."

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