Cyberactivists unblock Wikileaks for Thai Netizens

Last Updated: Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 09:41

Bangkok: A group of anonymous Internet activists has set up a website to display information about Thailand that comes from the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks, which is blocked to some viewers in the Southeast Asian country.

The group calling itself "Wikicong" said on Friday it set up the thaileaks.info site as "a tool to break the censorship" — an apparent reference to alleged efforts by the Thai government to block access to the material, which includes a private video of the country`s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.

Some access to the main WikiLeaks site has been blocked in Thailand since at least late June. It has been accessible, however, using some variants of the domain name, and through some local Internet service providers.

WikiLeaks drew worldwide publicity in late July when it posted a huge trove of secret US military documents about the war in Afghanistan.

Aree Jiyorarak, director of the Computer Crime Office of Thailand`s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said that WikiLeaks is not blocked by his office, but may not be accessible because of a technical glitch.

"I know some people said that the website is blocked, but it`s only a server problem," he said. "I can access WikiLeaks from my office. I can assure you that the website is not blocked."

Aree said about 1,300 websites were now blocked, mostly because they stream or have links to videos of political gatherings in Thailand. Other estimates put the number of blocked sites in the tens of thousands.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators besieged the Thai capital for two months before a military crackdown scattered them in May. The street clashes between so-called Red Shirt protesters and government forces killed 91 people and injured more than 1,400, and Thai authorities have been wary about further unrest.

The most sensitive material about Thailand on the WikiLeaks site is the video of the crown prince, heir apparent to 82-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, having dinner with the woman who later became his wife. The video had been widely circulated inside Thailand, which has a strict lese majeste law that mandates a jail term of up to 15 years for anyone who "defames, insults, or threatens" the royal family.

In a "Message to the Government of Thailand" posted on its website, Wikicong dared Thai authorities to block the WikiLeaks data. "We don`t worry much because there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of internauts ready to make that information reach its true destination: the people of Thailand," it said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, August 21, 2010 - 09:41

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