• Manushya Foundation

Thailand the 'Land of Digital Dictatorship': PornHub ban vs. violation of Online Freedom & Privacy



Thailand just banned PornHub. On November 2, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society announced the banning of PornHub and 191 other websites with pornographic content, claiming that the ‘obscene’ content might affect youth’s behavior, as many parents and guardians are concerned. 


BUT what's the truth behind this? It doesn’t seem it's to truly protect 'Public Morals'. As the scandalous video of the King and his ex-wife partying naked is resurfacing again on the site, the Thai government might try to hide the infamous video more than anything else. And to do so, the military-backed government is yet again violating Thai netizens online freedom by weaponizing the Computer Crime Act (CCA). In order to ban the site, they claim that the ‘obscene’ and ‘inappropriate’ content on the site is violating the CCA's article 14(4). This is also another problematic aspect, regardless of the real reason for PornHub banning, the law allows the government to define what is ‘obscene’ and ‘inappropriate’. This wrongly gives them the power to determine what is right and what is wrong for the people. Clearly, conservatives in power try to control what young people can watch, can say, and can do online.  


More importantly, this shows that the Thai government is still portraying sex as taboo and morally wrong. When it comes to pornographic content online, only sexual exploitation & child pornography have to be prohibited and criminalized! But pornographic material made by and with consenting adults should not be banned, in violation of fre expression and privacy.


Thailand has become the land of digital dictatorship, this is not the land of smiles and certainly not the land of compromise. Thus, we call on the Thai government to end its censorship attempts that undermine online freedom and the right to privacy of Thailand netizens. Instead, the Thai government must focus its efforts on banning and criminalizing specifically pornographic videos of sexual exploitation and child pornography. 


Emilie Pradichit, our Founder and Director, was quoted in two articles on the topic:

  • In Reuters: "Thailand is a land of digital dictatorship, with conservatives in power trying to control what young people can watch, can say and can do online.” - Access the article here

  • In VICE: "The government is confirming its status as a land of digital dictatorship and not a land of compromises." - Access the article here



Want to join us in fighting back digital dictatorship in Thailand? Check out our campaign to #StopDigitalDictatorship!

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Founded in 2017, Manushya Foundation serves as a bridge to engage, mobilise, and empower agents of change by: connecting humans through inclusive coalition building and; by developing strategies focused at placing local communities’ voices in the centre of human rights advocacy and domestic implementation of international human rights obligations and standards.

 

Manushya Foundation strengthens the solidarity and capacity of communities and grassroots to ensure they can constructively raise their own concerns and provide solutions in order to improve their livelihoods and the human rights situation on the ground.