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Friday, August 31, 2007

Thailand lifts ban on YouTube

Bangkok - Thailand on Friday lifted a five-month ban on the YouTube website after the owner, Google agreed to block video clips that break the kingdom's laws or offend sensibilities.

Local access to YouTube has been blocked in Thailand since April 3, after a person in the United States posted a video clip that was deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy.

Under Thailand's lese majeste law it is illegal to insult Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 79, or the royal family.

After a series of negotiations with YouTube to withdraw the clip, Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communciations Technology decided to block the popular site six months ago, prompting international concerns about Thailand's press freedoms.

Thailand argued that if Google was willing to block sites with references to 'democracy' in China, it should be similarly considerate of Thai sensibilities about the royal family.

It was only after YouTube developed software to block provocative clips did the ministry agree to lift the local ban, according to Thai media reports.

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