Reporters Without Borders condemned what it said
was a serious decline in online press freedom in
Thailand after Corruptionwatch.net received a
letter from its host, Thai Dream, on 27 January
2006 giving notice of closure on 1st February
because of "technical problems".
The website was launched on 9 January 2006 with
the declared objective of exposing cases of
public corruption or those implicating people
close to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Its organisers complained of a "climate of fear"
among Thai web hosting companies, which was
forcing them to seek a host abroad.
The worldwide press freedom organisation said
another website, manager.co.th, linked to
satellite TV station ASTV, had also been
reportedly threatened with closure a few days
earlier. "The fact that publications critical of
the authorities are forced to leave the country
is a sign that political pressure is applied to
web hosting companies," it said.
"We urge the government to ensure that everyone
has the right to express themselves online in
Thailand," it added.
One of the managers of Corruption Watch, Dr Along
Korn Ponlaboot, said he was convinced that Thai
Dream had ended the contract for political
reasons. "The government should protect freedom
of expression and not allow a climate of fear to
take hold among Internet service providers. It is
a disgrace for a government that considers itself
democratic," he added.
Ahead of the final closure, Thai Dream agreed to
make the site temporarily available at another IP
address. However, Corruptionwatch.net is not
The management committee of Corruption Watch met
on 1st February and decided to switch to an
American provider from 3 February.
Bosses at Manager.co.th said it had received a
closure order from the Communication Authority of
Thailand (CAT). Their provider, Internet Solution
& Service Provider Co, has however not yet put
the order into effect and the site was still
There is legal confusion about the procedures
involved in closing a website. All Thai service
providers have to work under the supervision of
CAT, a body which is itself controlled by the
Thailand has been on the Internet Freedom desk’s
list of "countries to watch" since November 2005.
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