Thailand team cleanses net of royal insults | world | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 18, 2017-Monday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -
live
* Wins + Leads | Source : ECI/Media Reports

Thailand team cleanses net of royal insults

Down a maze of neon-lit corridors in a massive government complex here is a windowless room where computer technicians scour the Internet for photos, articles, Facebook postings - anything that might be deemed offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family.

world Updated: Oct 04, 2011 01:13 IST

Down a maze of neon-lit corridors in a massive government complex here is a windowless room where computer technicians scour the Internet for photos, articles, Facebook postings - anything that might be deemed offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family.

The technicians work in what is called the Office of Prevention and Suppression of Information Technology Crimes. The government prefers to call it the "war room," the headquarters of a vigorous and expanding campaign to purify the Internet of royal insults.

The crackdown, which officials have vowed to intensify, is being carried out by a team of 10 computer specialists led by Surachai Nilsang, whose title is cyber inspector.

"The thing that drives us to do our duty is that we love and worship the monarchy," Mr. Surachai said in a two-hour interview here. He and his colleagues showed a reporter around the war room and an adjacent space that contained computers seized as evidence from suspects charged with insulting the monarchy. It was the first visit by a journalist to the facilities.

Photography was not allowed.

The visit offered insights into the scale of the government's battle against online skeptics of the monarchy. But it also highlighted the difficulties of determining what exactly constitutes an insult, a point emphasized by those in Thailand who say the campaign against lèse-majesté is impinging on civil liberties. Many governments, notably those of China and Singapore, have over the years tried to control the flow of information on the Internet. But perhaps nowhere else is the mission so explicit and single-minded as in Thailand.