Thailand’s military dictator has been defending his latest policy to censor dissent with plans to launch a single Internet gateway that will help the government to muzzle the web.According to news reports, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology was ordered at a September 1 Cabinet meeting to establish a firewall to filter all Internet traffic entering and leaving Thailand. The written order, signed by Prayuth, said the gateway would serve as a tool to control access to inappropriate sites and the influx of information from abroad, the reports said. Prayuth’s order called on authorities to expedite the gateway’s establishment.
Shawn Crispin, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ senior Southeast Asia representative responded:
Thailand needs fewer, not more, controls on the Internet. Prayuth should scrap the one gateway plan and any other designs to block, censor, or surveil the Internet and Internet-based social media applications. Any new laws or plans to govern Thailand’s Internet should be left for a new, elected administration, not his self-appointed military junta.
Thai citizens have been opposing the censorship plan via a petition signed by nearly 150,000 people. The issue has become one of the biggest public rallying points since the military seized power from an elected government last year.
Activists brought down several government websites last week in protest at plans dubbed the Great Firewall of Thailand .
Last Wednesday, calls went out on social media in Thailand encouraging people to visit the websites and repeatedly refresh them. Image caption One of the posts that appeared on social media: Next target, http://www.thaigov.go.th to show our opposition to the single gateway. Among the targets were the site of the ministry of information, communications and technology (ICT) and the main government website thaigov.go.th .
ICT Deputy Permanent Secretary Somsak Khaosuwan tried to spin the website crash, claiming that the site did not crash because of an attack but because it was overloaded by visitors checking to see whether and attack was happening.