Google to Block Video Clips That Thais Say Insult King

Published: May 12, 2007

BANGKOK, May 11 (Reuters) — Google has agreed to block four video clips on its YouTube Web site that the government of Thailand said insulted its king.

But in a letter to the minister of communications, Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, Google said two other videos that had angered Thailand’s military government would stay on the site, because they did not break laws against offending the monarchy.

“They appear to be political comments that are critical of both the government and the conduct of foreigners,” said the letter, signed by Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel. “Because they are political in nature, and not intended insults of His Majesty, we do not see a basis for blocking these videos.”

The government, which blocked access to YouTube last month when clips mocking King Bhumibol Adulyadej first appeared, gave copies of the letter to reporters on Friday. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Sitthichai, who threatened to sue Google earlier in the week, said he no longer wished to take legal action but he did not say whether the company’s concession was enough for him to unblock YouTube for Thai Internet surfers.

“The Thai police will not take any action against any company,” he told a news conference. “Instead they will look into ways of fighting the person who uploaded the video onto the Web site.”

The letter said Thailand had sent YouTube a list of 12 video clips it deemed offensive. Six of the clips had already been removed by their creators or because they violated YouTube’s “code of service,” it said.

Insulting royalty is a serious offense in Thailand, but the generals who ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a military coup in September have also used the strict laws about the monarchy to stifle criticism of themselves or their actions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s