A court sentenced a Thai webmaster Wednesday to an eight-month suspended sentence for not moving quickly enough to delete online comments deemed insulting to the country's royalty in a case widely seen as a test of freedom of expression in Thailand.
While the ruling showed leniency, it also sent the message that Internet content in the Southeast Asian nation must be self-censored. Chiranuch Premchai#*$! had faced up to 20 years in prison for failing to quickly remove 10 comments others had posted on her Prachatai news website.
She told reporters she found the verdict reasonable but still had thought she would be acquitted.
Msg#: 4459495 posted 1:11 am on Sep 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
I'm based in Thailand and my forum is full of cranky westerners that brought with them their western cultural baggage i.e. they think they can write whatever the hell they like and hide behind their perceived forum anonymity. There is even one guy that describes himself as a 'freedom of speech activist' and he's on the advisory board to Wikileaks (do some Googling and you'll come up with the name of the guy and my website). This arrogant SoB is well aware of the law in Thailand, yet puts me and my liberty at risk by posting Lese Majeste on my forum (he can do what he likes on his own website). Keeping my site clear of illegal commentary is one of the hardest things me and my mods (who also have vested interests in Thailand) have to do.
<even even further OT> My daughter's name ends in 'p o r n' (many Thai names do)... I tried to register a hotmail address for her but their badword filter wouldn't allow her name :-D </even even further OT>
Msg#: 4459495 posted 12:55 am on Dec 14, 2012 (gmt 0)
I think twenty days is about eighteen days too long to have left something on the board in a country the site owner knew had such laws.
Bangkok Criminal Court Judge Kampol Rungrat said his guilty verdict was based on one particular post that was left on the Prachatai site for 20 days.
In that same article I read this:
"Today's guilty verdict for Chiranuch Premchaip0rn, for something somebody else wrote on her website, is a serious threat to the future of the Internet in Thailand," Taj Meadows, Asia Pacific spokesman for Internet services giant Google, said by email.
"Telephone companies are not penalized for things people say on the phone and responsible website owners should not be punished for comments users post on their sites," he wrote. "The precedent set today is bad for Thai businesses, users and the innovative potential of Thailand's Internet economy."
I see another example that some of those folks at Google, Inc. are not too sharp. That's a really stupid comparison and I would hope Mr. Page has had a word or two with that employee of his.
If that statement was not repudiated by some Google official soon after it was published it certainly would not do much to help the cause of any webmaster that wants to make the case that they shouldn't be held accountable for what their community members post.
Oh yes, speaking of the relationship between a webmaster and the community members, this from a post above is interesting.
I'm based in Thailand and my forum is full of cranky westerners that brought with them their western cultural baggage ... (truncated)