Blocking of social media websites has become a trend in few countries. Most of the time such blocking takes place to suppress public opinion and this violates the right to speech and expression of the netizens. The latest to add to the list of social media websites blocking nation is Thailand that recently blocked Facebook for a period of 30 minutes. Such blocking violates civil liberties protection in cyberspace as such blocking is not undertaken in compliance with a valid and constitutional law.
As per a media report, Thai Facebook users were shocked on Wednesday to find that the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry blocked access to the site at the request of the military, but the junta blamed the brief shutdown on a technical problem. However, a senior ICT ministry official confirmed the site had been blocked to thwart the spread of online criticism of the military in the wake of a May 22 coup.
”We have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them”, Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, told Reuters. “Right now there’s a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup”, he said.
Meanwhile the military council has denied any such blocking exercise and said that they have no policy to block Facebook and they have assigned the ICT ministry to set up a supervisory committee to follow social media and investigate and solve problems. Military spokesperson has attributed the non access to some technical problems with the internet gateway.