Thailand blocks YouTube for clip mocking king

Thailand's military-appointed government has blocked access to on-line video-sharing Web site YouTube after owner Google Incorporated declined to withdraw a video clip mocking the country's revered monarch. Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom ordered a block of the entire site from Thailand after the ministry's attempts to get the offending page removed last week failed. "Since Google has rejected our repeated requests to withdraw the clip, we can't help blocking the entire site in Thailand. When they decide to withdraw the clip, we will withdraw the ban," said professor Sitthichai.

YouTube, which has dominated the user-generated on-line video market since it was founded in February last year, carried a 44-second clip ridiculing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch. The sender of the clip, seen more than 16,000 times, was named "paddidda" and has been rudely attacked by most of 99 comments, according to the Web site. Sitthichai said YouTube had told Thai officials it did not find the clip offensive so turned down the request to remove it. 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. Criticizing or offending royalty is a crime in Thailand. Those guilty of 'lese majeste' can be jailed for up to 15 years. The coup leaders and the appointed government deny muzzling free speech.

News source: MSNBC

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