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Summary:

Americans revel in their ability to mock powerful figures, both living and historic. But we don’t grant the status of divinity to our elected executive leaders (well, most of us, anyway). Who doesn’t like a good James “Doughface” Buchanan joke? But Thailand loves King Bhumibol Adulyadej. […]

Americans revel in their ability to mock powerful figures, both living and historic. But we don’t grant the status of divinity to our elected executive leaders (well, most of us, anyway). Who doesn’t like a good James “Doughface” Buchanan joke? But Thailand loves King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Or else.

Thanks to lese majest laws, disrespecting the man is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. And a video posted to YouTube disrespecting the man? The Thai government determined this week such an act justifies banning the entirety of the site.

Bhumibol Adulyadej on YouTube

Videos titled “Bhumibol Adulyadej” and “Bhumibol Adulyadej 2″ were posted to YouTube by user paddidda — the first was removed for a terms of use violation, the later was apparently removed by the user, and the account has been closed. The only record left on the site was a search result (screenshot above) and a cache of the page for the original video from Google search.

This is nothing new — India also banned YouTube after discovering clips which some felt cast Gandhi in a bad light, Turkey got mad about videos depicting Ataturk. Brazil and Japan have had their issues as well — funny by comparison, Brazil was pissed about a sex tape depicting a supermodel. In just about all the cases, the countries stopped banning YouTube soon enough, once they felt their demands were addressed.

Thai Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom told the BBC that YouTube would be reinstated after the video was removed, so presumably that will happen soon enough.

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  1. This is a bit of a blow for freespeech once again with Google backing down.

    Same thing has happened in Brazil and Turkey before, each resulting in the countires government being able to censor videos on YouTube.

  2. Vic Okezie » Blog Archive » YouTube cooperates with Thailand Friday, April 6, 2007

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