Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WTF: Thailand Gives Up Trying To Sue YouTube

AP / Yahoo is reporting that Thailand has dropped their plan to sue YouTube, after Google finally agreed to remove a video clip which ridiculed the Thai king. YouTube / Google initially refused to remove the offending video, but relented after the Thai military government blocked local access to the entire site on April 4th. The backtrack by Google was enough to placate the Thai government into not pressing charges.

Click the link below for the full story

The video clocks in at a mere 44-seconds, and is amateurish even by my standards. It features a picture of King Bhumipol Adulyadej being defaced by crude scribblings and worst of all, placed beneath a photo of a woman's feet -a grave and serious religious faux-pas in strictly Buddhist Thailand.

Apparently unknown to Google / YouTube, ridiculing the king in Thailand is a serious crime, punishable by long-term jail -a fact discovered by a Swiss man who is now serving a 10-year jail sentence.

The Thai government were on the verge of filing a criminal lawsuit against Google on charges of lese-majeste, or offense against the monarchy, carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison but decided not to sue "because it (Google) has agreed to cooperate in removing 12 video clips from the YouTube Web site," so sayeth Vissanu Meeyoo, the Thai Ministry of Information and Communications Technology spokesman.

"We have the deepest respect for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej," Google wrote in a letter to the ministry. "We likewise respect Thailand's law and tradition and hope that we will be able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the current controversy."

This is the latest successful censorship case by a country to publicly suppress content on the internet, following Turkey's suspension of YouTube access after a video was posted purporting to show founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as a homosexual. China's infamous CNN, BBC and then Google bans, and North Korea -who have yet to start using their official .nk domain name.


No comments: