Thailand will not have anyone speaking ill of the dead, especially when the deceased is none other than King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on October 13. Much of the nation is mourning the monarch’s death, but there are a few who seem to have taken the opportunity to hurl insults online. And the Thai government simply won’t have it.
As a result, Thai officials have met with representatives from Google in order to remove offensive content from the web. And as Reuters reports, “Google affirmed in the meeting that it would continue to help the government remove content from YouTube, a Google subsidiary, that it deemed offensive.”
Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong met with the search giant on Friday, and seemed to leave the meeting satisfied with its results. “If any website is inappropriate [Google] said to get in touch with them and inform them of the URL and the time the content was found,” Prajin told reporters. This ought to appease some Thai royalists, who have demanded that those posting “inappropriate” content be disciplined. After all, Thailand does maintain a royal insult law which makes it illegal to insult the monarchy. Those who transgress may face up to 15 years in prison.
The Thai government has long faced criticism from the international community for its seemingly strict lese-majeste laws, which it has consistently defended.
As for Google, it says that its agreement to help the Thai government remains in line with its policies around the world. “We have always had clear and consistent policies for removal requests from governments around the world and we continue to operate in line with those policies,” a Google spokesperson in California told Reuters on Friday. “When we are notified of content that is illegal through official processes, we will restrict it in the country where it’s illegal after a thorough review.”