Thailand Blocks YouTube Over Video Insult To King

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.

Thailand Blocks YouTube Access from Wall Street Journal and Web crackdown blocks YouTube in Thailand from the International Herald Tribune both have details. From the Wall Street Journal:

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 video (this seems to be the one, based on this Mail & Guardian article), is described as insulting in part because:

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Google: YouTube & Video | Legal: Censorship


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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