Google Apologizes, Thailand Drops Lawsuit
Quite a line was forming up, but it appears there’s now one less organization in the world that wants to sue YouTube; since the video-sharing site decided to take down clips in which the king of Thailand was insulted, the Thai government has dropped its criminal lawsuit.
|Google Apologizes, Thailand Drops Lawsuit|
The government had actually not yet filed the suit (which would have been filed in a Bangkok court), but it had enacted a ban on YouTube throughout Thailand. As you can read in our previous coverage, the hubbub all goes back to a picture of the Thai king juxtaposed with the image of some feet.
Strangely, there was no indication that YouTube cared about Thai government’s reaction – this ban has been in place for over a month – until the news of a letter sent to Sitthichai Pokaiyaudom, Thailand’s Information and Communications Technology Minister, broke.
In the letter, Kent Walker, Vice President of Google, wrote that “he did not want Google to become a source of hostile feeling regarding the King’s video clips,” according to the Bangkok Post. That is a fine sentiment, and yet backing down in this case will only reinforce the view of many that YouTube is not a strong defender of free speech.
Earthtimes.org, in fact, chose this occasion to pull out a rather damning statistic: “Increasing government censorship of websites was cited as one of the reasons Thailand was downgraded earlier this month to 127th place out of 195 countries on the Freedom House ranking of press freedom.”
It may be an instance of guilt by association for YouTube.