First Brazil blocked YouTube over a celebrity sex video. Then Turkey blocked YouTube over a video said to be insulting to country founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Now it’s Thailand’s turn. YouTube is now blocked in Thailand after the service apparently failed to remove a video clip deemed insulting to the country’s king.
Mr. Sitthichai said YouTube was blocked Wednesday morning after its owner, Google Inc., turned down his request to remove the Web page, which features a 44-second clip showing graffiti-like elements painted over a slide show of photographs of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
"It’s a serious case of lèse-majesté," said Mr. Sitthichai, using the legal term for the crime of offending the monarchy. "We asked Google to remove it some days ago, but they refused to."
According to Mr. Sitthichai, thousands had called the government to complain about the video.
Google, which you might recall found itself in legal hot water in Belgium after not reacting to a court filing there over copyright issues, now seems to be figuring out the Thailand situation after the fact. Again from the WSJ:
Google referred requests for comment to YouTube, whose head of global communications, Julie Supan, said, "We are disappointed that YouTube has been blocked in Thailand, and we are currently looking into the matter."
The most offensive to Thai Buddhists was the juxtaposition of a pair of woman’s feet, the lowest part of the body, above his head, the highest part of the body.
Not insulting or issue enough for YouTube, however. The Mail & Guardian article suggests that YouTube had previously looked into the matter and decided it wasn’t an issue:
Sitthichai said YouTube had told Thai officials it did not find the clip offensive, so it turned down the request to remove it.
YouTube offers to help Thais block offending pages from Reuters has a follow-up on YouTube working with the Thai government.