Thailand Allows Access To YouTube

    August 31, 2007

As censorship goes, this could be worse – YouTube has made any videos insulting the king of Thailand inaccessible from within that country.  In return, the Thai government has lifted a ban and apparently allowed everything else on the video-sharing site to return.

When we last heard from YouTube and the government of Thailand, it appeared their tiff was over, and access to YouTube was to be restored.  (That was two months ago.  Way to move quickly, fellas.)  But from YouTube’s perspective, it could be worse, since the government had been threatening to sue.

Also, a BBC article on the matter notes, “Insulting the king is considered an offence in Thailand and is punishable with a 15-year jail sentence.”

Many outsiders feel that even the “light” censorship that has been enacted is highly questionable, however, and neither YouTube nor its owner have made any effort to explain their actions.  A Reporters Without Borders statement on the matter reads, “We note the unblocking of the video-sharing site but we ask Google to make public the contents of a compromise referred to by the Thai Information and Communications Ministry.”

It’s unlikely, to be honest, that we’ll ever see those contents.  On a related note: even as things in Thailand appear to have wrapped up, an argument concerning Nazi clips on YouTube has begun in Germany.