Does Thailand Have Internet Restrictions?

credit: Yay

When visiting a new country like Thailand for the first time, it is important to know the rules to avoid trouble with the Law. Knowing Thailand’s strict internet restrictions are significant as some rules, like criticizing the Thai King, can result in 15 years of jail time.

Thailand does, in fact, restrict parts of the internet that violates the rules and regulations of Thailand. Therefore, The Thailand Government will block any websites that do not follow these rules and regulations.

Also read: Do They Eat Rats In Thailand?

Are There Internet Restrictions In Thailand?

The Thailand government does, in fact, restrict some parts of the internet, mainly targeted towards websites that do not follow the rules and regulations in Thailand. However, this can also be extended to social media accounts and services.

Although the criteria for such restrictions have never been made public by the Thailand government, we have gathered that they typically block websites that contain any of these criteria.

  • Lèse Majesté (which protects the Monarchy from defamation)
  • Pornography
  • The Sale Of Sex Toys
  • Gambling-Related Content

What Websites Are Restricted In Thailand?

Although Thailand can be strict sometimes regarding what may and may not be viewed by the public, this is enforced to protect Thailand’s people and the Monarchy.

All Formes Of Lèse Majesté Toward The Thai King

Any Websites that Threaten, insult, or don’t bring honor to the “Thai king” will be censored or blocked entirely by the Thailand government. For example, thousands of website URLs containing Lèse Majesté towards the Thai king are blocked, accounting for 11% of all websites blocked by the Thailand government.

Therefore any form of protesting or criticism towards the Thai king or the Thailand government online will be taken down or blocked in Thailand.

Although the Thailand government does, in fact, restrict many sites, this shouldn’t be a nuisance in anyone’s day-to-day life. The Thai government wants to protect Its citizens and not control them. Therefore as long as they stay within the Law, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Any Forms Of Pornography Are Restricted In Thailand

All forms of pornography are strictly prohibited in Thailand, as it is Illegal to record, distribute, own, and watch any form of pornography in Thailand. Therefore an estimated 16 thousand websites containing pornographic content have been restricted from Thai use, accounting for 60% of all URLs Banned by the Thailand government.

The Sale Of Sex Toys

The sale and distribution of sex toys or any sex trade, including prostitution, are illegal in Thailand. Therefore, the Thailand government banned multiple websites that advertise or distribute sex toys and/or the sex trade.

However, this Law does not seem as strictly enforced as Bangkok’s red-light district is estimated to be worth $6.4 billion US dollars or 230 billion Thai baht. Districts such as Soi Cowboy, Nana, Patpong, and Silom all openly sell sex toys and prostitution.

Prostitution has been around In Thailand since 1960 as they served the American soldiers during the Vietnamese war and prostitution still has a prominent place in Thailand, although it is technically illegal.

Gambling-Related Content

The Thailand government has long argued that gambling goes against the principles of Buddhism, which is Thailand’s Major religion.

Therefore It is illegal to Bet outside of the official lottery, casinos, and a hand full of horse racing tracks. More than 200 gambling websites are blocked in Thailand due to illegal betting, which is around 1% of all sites blocked by the Thailand government.

Is Social Media Banned In Thailand?

Any Social media that gives the Thailand government explicit permission to block any content from being viewed in Thailand is not banned in Thailand. Thailand is stringent when it comes to what may and may not be watched by the general public of Thailand.

Thai man using internet on laptop
Yay Thai man using internet on laptop

Therefore Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and other popular social media platforms are not banned. This is only possible if these platforms give the Thai authorities the appropriate access to block any content they deem unfit for the general public.

Therefore, although social media platforms are not banned, anyone posting anything violating Thailand’s rules and regulations will be blocked. Therefore unlawful content and comments won’t be able to be viewed for long by anyone in Thailand. Their account can also be banned from the platform.

Are Streaming Services Banned In Thailand?

The Thai authorities are notorious for their strict censorship policies. Furthermore, shows filled with drug use, sex, and violence and don’t bring reverence to Buddha are under strict censorship by the Thailand government.

Is Netflix Censored In Thailand?

Even with the Thai government’s strict censorship, Netflix found ways to work around this problem. Therefore, rather than removing offensive scenes from the movies, Netflix merely crops around or blurs the offensive images within each scene, leaving the silhouettes intact.

Is Youtube Censored By The Thailand Government?

Thailand does have unrestricted rights to block any content they deem offensive or that violates Thailand’s laws. However, this wasn’t always the case. In 2006, Thailand blocked YouTube, restricting any access from Thailand. However, Thailand unblocked YouTube a year later when YouTube agreed to give Thailand full access to block any content that violates the Law.

What Can Not Be Shown In Films?

Films are censored for violating moral and cultural norms and disturbing public order and national security. In addition, any film that mentions prostitution in Thailand or fails to depict Buddhism with absolute reverence is also subject to censorship under Thai law.

Scenes on television that include “cleavage-revealing clothing, a man’s bare chest, weapons pointed at people, alcohol consumption, and even the bottom of shoes are obscured or blurred out. The blurs will likely be omitted if a Thai television program is broadcast abroad.

The Thai government is rigorous regarding any form of media that does not follow the strict guidelines set by the Thai government. For example, it won’t allow any Thai movies or tv series to be released unless all the requirements are met and no rules are broken.

For example, In 2018, the Thai government forbade releasing The Series Thi Baan unless a scene depicting a monk crying at the side of his ex-girlfriend’s coffin was removed from the show.

In 2015 they banned a horror film called Arbat (‘Sin of a Monk’) for scenes of a novice monk acting inappropriately for a monk. Therefore, before resubmitting the film to the board, the studio had to re-edit the movie altogether. The horror film director remarked, “I edited the film through my tears.

Are Chats Monitored In Thailand?

The Thai government demanded access to the messaging app “Line” to monitor conversations in the country. A politician claimed that they now have access to “Line” Chats. If the Thai government is monitoring “Line,” it appears to be bolstering its ongoing efforts to block illegal content on various social networks.

The Thai government asks that users who encounter messages that violate Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws should contact the authorities. They will trace the content’s origin to bring justice, peace, and order.

Is There Freedom Of Speech In Thailand

In Thailand’s Constitution of 1997, freedom of speech was guaranteed. These guarantees are reaffirmed in the Constitution of 2007. They are still in use today, which states in part: A person shall have the freedom to communicate through any means.

Under section 45: People can express their opinion, make speeches, write, print, publish, and make other forms of expression freely.

A restriction on liberty under paragraph 1 may only be imposed by Law specifically enacted to maintain state security and protection. For example, when there is a threat to people’s lives, dignity, reputations, or privacy, the government will step in to prevent the public’s mind or health from deteriorating.