With the Thai government announcing a renewed effort to “protect the king” it is probably time to examine developments in their online campaigns to generate positive feelings about the monarchy.

A long-time reader recently alerted me to a big advertisement in the Bangkok Post (above) trumpeting the creation 0f a website called www.weloveking.org. It was launched last week by Bhum Jai Thai political leader Newin Chidchob. The launch received wide coverage in the Thai media.

This new website invites contributions of smiling photographs or videos to “give happiness to ‘father'”. When you click across to www.weloveking.org make sure you turn up the volume so you can hear the site’s theme song. It is also possible to download the song as a “ring tone” or “calling melody”. For uploading photos and videos, the site offers three easy methods, including Multimedia Messaging Service.

Long-time New Mandala readers know that this is not the first government-affiliated effort to define appropriate online coverage of royal matters.

All I hope is that this new site is maintained with more diligence than www.protecttheking.net which was, you might recall, designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for dobbing in lese majeste offenders. Readers may remember that the responsible official forgot to renew the domain registration. Now when you access www.protecttheking.net you get all manner of gratuitous financial advice from “the kings of protecting your pockets”. It isn’t, I’d wager, what the Thai authorities had in mind.

Not to be put off by that loss of valuable digital real estate, the Thai government has established another new site: www.ourking.in.th. The branding on the preliminary page indicates support from the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary and the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, among other agencies.

It is still in the early stages of development and they are even inviting public input on the site’s logo and template. With a total prize of 220,000 baht at stake you could play a major role in designing this tribute to the king of Thailand. To apply to enter the design competition you need to complete this form. Applications close on 30 April 2010.