Thai 'Cyber Crime' Censorship Bill Set to Pass

Anne Winter
BANGKOK, Thailand — Legislation that would allow the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to shut down or block any website it deems "damaging to society" is slated to be passed by Thailand's Assembly next month.

If it passes, the "Cyber Crime Bill" would mark the first time the country would have a legal tool to deal with the "problem" of offensive and unsuitable websites, according to a Bangkok Post article.

Current law states that government officials must seek assistance from the Council for National Security, as well as approval from Internet service providers, before a website can be shut down.

C.J. Hinke of the Freedom Against Censorship Thailand said that the country's lese majeste law has become a powerful way for government officials to enforce censorship.

"I think Thai authorities should stop treating people like children and allow discussion among ourselves so we can really debate and become an informed society," Hinke said.

The bill's opposition argues that this sort of regulation should come from "netizens" and webmasters themselves, and that there are non-governmental ways to prevent certain viewers, such as minors, from accessing "indecent content" online.