I had thought that after a couple of weeks of relative quiet it would be in everybody’s best interest to simply ignore the provocative and childish videos that may, on occasion, cause offence in Thailand. I was wrong.
Apparently, Thailand’s junta-installed government now plans to charge YouTube with lèse majesté. The International Herald Tribune has some details.
It reports that:
Sitthichai Phokai-udom, the minister of information and communications technology, told The Associated Press that a suit would be lodged with a Thai court next week on charges of lese majeste, or offense against the monarchy, which is a crime in Thailand.
The minister said refusal to remove the clip on grounds of free flow of communication was “total hypocrisy” since the YouTube owners Google censored their operation to gain access to the market in China.
“Thailand is a fairly small country and not the economic or military powerhouse, so we are at the mercy of the greedy businessman in America,” he said.
He said the legal action was a cultural issue, not a political one, because “the majority of the Thai people feel deeply insulted by this video clip.”
In another report the Minister reportedly justified the blocking of websites in Thailand by saying that “though non-elected, the government was more democratic” than Thaksin’s popularly supported administration.
In response to these statements the questions are many: Will Google ever contest these charges in a Thai court? What would the consequence of a successful prosecution be? If Google/YouTube actually presents itself in a Thai court how closely will the world watch? Does the junta just want to continually draw attention to any and all perceived slights? Is that their tactic?
This ongoing saga shows no sign of ending any time soon. Who knows what will happen next?