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Thai authorities train sights on Facebook

(SEAPA/IFEX) - The Thai government expanded its attempts to control online media as it shut down the Facebook fan page of independent Thai online news site Prachatai.com.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) blocked the fan page on 29 April 2010 along with two other websites in the aftermath of the clash between security forces and Red Shirt protesters on 28 April 2010, according to Chiranuch Premchaiporn, Prachatai's executive director. The fan page has 5,798 fans.

Chiranuch said that the Thai-language news site can still be accessed through http://www.prachatai.net/ while its English-language version, http://www.prachatai.org , requires a proxy server.

The original Prachatai website was ordered shut down by the government a day after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva placed Bangkok and nearby provinces under a state of emergency on 7 April.

Chiranuch said that another news website, http://www.springnewstv.com , which also provides news content to several satellite TV channels, was also blocked after it reportedly ran a video clip of the 27 April violent confrontation between soldiers and policemen and Red Shirt protesters in Vibhavadi-Rangsit Highway in the capital's outskirts. One soldier was killed while eight protesters were injured.

A video-sharing website, http://www.vimeo.com , was also shut down, apparently for running video footages of the said clash.

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