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Thai court shuts down 400 websites at request of Information and Communications Technology Ministry

(SEAPA/IFEX) - A Thai court has issued three orders to shut down 400 websites, 344 of which, according to media reports, carried material that was disrespectful to the country's royal family. The action came after Thailand's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry sought court orders on 2 September 2008 to shut down about 400 websites and advised Internet service providers to block 1200 sites it considers to be either a danger to national security or a disturbance to social order.

ICT Minister Mun Patanotai claimed that the websites had been detected between March and August, adding that he sought court actions against them under Article 20 of Thailand's controversial Computer Crime Act. The ministry also asked for assistance from the police to bring all the violators to trial.

The move to shut down the websites, however, came on the heels of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's 2 September declaration of a state of emergency in Bangkok.

The online edition of the "Bangkok Post" reported that the blocked websites include two with religious content, one with a video sex game and five with obscene material. The same source quoted the ministry as saying that the violations committed by the websites include "disturbing the peaceful social order and morality of the people, and/or being considered detrimental to national security."

For further information on the state of emergency declaration, see:

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