YouTube access returns to Thailand

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

An image of King Bhumibol Adulyadej adorns an office building in Bangkok in 2006. Thailand viewers were blocked from the website after an "offensive" video was uploaded.

YouTube videos could once again be viewed today in Thailand, nearly six months after the video-sharing website was blocked for hosting a video that showed images deemed offensive to Thailand's monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said the ministry unblocked YouTube after the website said it had developed ways to block Thailand viewers from seeing contents that violate Thai laws.

In April, YouTube was blocked in Thailand after a video was uploaded that showed graffiti scrawled over the king's face, and feet being placed over the king's face; both highly offensive acts in Thai culture. Against the king, the offense is known as lèse majesté, a crime that can carry severe penalties.

Sitthichai told The Nation newspaper that the unblocking of YouTube is not in response to an apology issued in May by the video uploader.


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