Thailand's powers that be are considering a new block on certain "offensive" YouTube material after last month lifting its ban on the site, Reuters reports. The Thailand versus YouTube saga began in May when one chap posted a 44-second video showing King Bhumibol Adulyadej containing "the juxtaposition of a pair of woman's feet …
Freedom of expression above all?
What's petty or humorous to some is outrageous to others. There's nothing new in that, even within a given culture. Now, with globalisation, the friction is bound to increase. It's a headache for freedom of expression, but every country has it's laws based on taboos. It would be wise to temper western arrogance and egocentricity with a healthy dose of respect for fellow humans whose beliefs and cultures are different. This cramped and dangerous world is growing ever smaller. Power does not equal right, and any misconceptions on that will lead to unnecessary distress. Goodwill begins at home.
Remember that there is that "small" matter about the recent coup d'etat last year. The government was overthrown and they're under a military dictatorship "for their own protection". Both the Thai's intolerance *and* the "offending" videos seem to have appeared right after this situation.
Then again, you could check the case of the Spanish political magazine "El Jueves", which got recalled because they had the prince in an "offending" sexual caricature. Only difference is that this was a local media, not a global one (YouTube).
idiots and youtube
How can you tell the difference between legitimate political comment/protest, and some f##kwit being a smartarse and big-noting himself by putting on clips certain to offend the PTB ?
The criteria I have decided to use, is that if its on Youtube, or any of its clones.. its by a fuckwit.
So, according to the Thai govt, YouTube videos pose a threat to their national security. America has made the "national security" ploy a catch-all for anything that elected public servants, in any country, don't like.
Damn'it, I hate a pansy.
I would like to see a company like youtube say fuck it, block our site across your whole dictator led country, we really don't give a shit.
Re: Freedom of expression above all
So the answer to world getting smaller is to stop doing anything that could possibly seem offending to anyone else in the world? Probably count in aliens too. Why not preventively kill ourselves to stop offending others? Oh, I see, that would offend some too.
The web if full of hatred, calls to genocide, murder, war, terrorism, deprivation of human rights, ..., whatever you imagine. Most comes from the same people who complain most loudly about being offended by some caricatures. Wake up.
Stand your ground, Google.
That's some set of humanitarian priorities he's got there. For Thailand to be 'polluted' by the internet is unacceptable, yet, for Thailand to, perhaps, do so to the rest of the world is alright. GoogleTube should tell the fellow to take a look at his own country, more thoroughly. Clean up that particular sex tourism & multimedia industry, before he chooses to order those in charge of servers in another sovereign nation to do his bidding. i.e. Don't Be Evil. Maybe, just maybe he might be able to salvage the lives of a few of his subjects, before those of us in the west choose to take him anywhere near as seriously as he takes himself. Lead by honest example; do for yourself, & your subjects, as you say to others. Title is still to be fully earned from the rest of the world.
The alternative? It would be advisable to keep one's regally-appointed mouthpieces closed before engaging. Live with being a small part of a big world of freedom of speech.
Nobody can have it both ways, in any form of complete success. All of one or all of the other, what's it to be?
In Zimbabwe President Mugabe has made criticism of himself illegal and at least one Zimbabwean has been imprisoned for 7 days for being found in possession of an email critical of Mugabe last week.
I presume that you would applaud this?
@Jim + Internet in Thailand
Jim, that's precisely what they should do. Even the less cynical exec at Youtube should consider that Thailand is very far from having the same business weight as e.g. China, so yes, that's what they should do.
I have lived in Thailand until recently, and freedom of expression in this country is getting close to what is it in the worst dictatorships in the world. The Internet, for some reason, is considered as a particularly sensitive media. Honestly, it started under the Thaksin's (deposed PM) administration, but the junta made censorship grow at an alarming rate. Since they don't even have a clue about how to implement local filtering (see below why) they have no choice but asking Youtube to take that content out.
This really makes the self-claims of Thailand bound to becoming a "regional IT hub" laughable. These claims come every 6 months, while at the same time Thailand lags more and more behind its neighbors in terms of datacomm infrastructure and even worse lack of qualified local engineers. I know what I'm talking about ... been working for an ISP there. You wouldn't believe what I've seen. Even Thailand's much poorer neighbors will sooner or later have a better Internet.
Google, Yahoo, et al will certainly not stop kowtowing to various dictatorship requirements - it's a question of ad revenue, in other words, MONEY.
Stand up for free speech ? Hey, these are companies we're talking about. The shareholders will never agree.
RE: Stand your ground google
Maybe I'm reading this wrong but what your saying is: Thialand don't have the right to be offended by something on youtube, becuase they do stuff that offends you and you think they should stop doing it. But google should stand their ground and continue to do stuff that Thialand finds offensive? Or in short you don't like what they do so they should stop it, but if they don't like what we (you) do they should STFU and live with it?
offending material matter of choice
Would the brits want to pull a video where for example, the queen gives a bl**job to a horse? As for the spanish cartoon, offense is a local matter, and as much as I despise royalty in general, and while free speech (maybe not the US version) is a cornerstone of freedom, this sort of free speech brings nothing to human kind. Also, bush would have a video pulled in seconds if he said it threatens national security, regardless how groundless his claim might be.
I am unsure what to think about all of this, and I guess my points are:
1) it is easy not to appreciate cultural differences
2) stones and glasshouses... (@ Jim Booth)
3) it is dangerous that almost all the internet is US-based, where local (sub)standards apply
re: RE: Stand your ground google
Thailand want to stand their ground on the status of their leader, they have that right, should they so choose. Therefore, Google is entitled to stand it's ground on what it believes in, also, i.e. Free speech. Google has this right. Both parties only have jurisdiction within their own, respective, domains. The safest option is for them to stay away from each other, whilst holding their respective core positions. i.e. Stalemate. Though, nature abhors a vacuum, this 'superposition' would be ripe to collapse at the first false move.
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