Earlier this month we reported that the Thai government blocked Justin.tv in order to quell anti-government protests online. The censorship continues, as the Thai government has blocked Livestream as well. This recent act of censorship occurred at the end of last week, following heightened protests in Bangkok.
According to NewTeeVee, Thai users trying to access Livestream.com are redirected to a website that says, “This website has been blocked by ICT.” ICT is Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. According to Twitter complaints, Thai users are having problems accessing Ustream as well. While it is currently unknown whether Livestream and Ustream were actually hosting anti-government video streams, it is known that several groups critical of the Thai government were accounted for on Justin.tv. Whether or not opposition groups were using these sites to spread the word on the web, it seems that the Thai government is covering its bases in order to censor and prevent resistance online.
Thailand is not the first country to engage in the censorship of social media, by any means. The most notorious example was Iran’s Internet connectivity shutdown after protests erupted on Twitter and other social media sites after last year’s election. However, Thailand is the first country to include live video streaming sites in their censorship program.
Censorship initiatives such as these send protesting back to our pre-Internet days. How would you spread the word about important issues if you didn’t have access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or live streaming sites?
Image found via Eric Drooker