ICT minister denies double standard legal action against website


BANGKOK, May 8 – Thailand’s information and communication technology (ICT) minister has flatly ruled out an allegation that websites with slanderous attacks against the prime minister and her government were closed down.

Anudith Nakornthap said the opposition’s charge was distorted and created misunderstanding among the public.

The power to close a website belongs to the Criminal Court, not the ICT, he said. “People have the right to express their opinions on social network but any wrongdoing which damages others is a violation of the Computer Act or the Criminal Code.”

He rejected claims that the ICT took action against those criticising the prime minister on the Internet but ignored statements against the monarch.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said people have the right and freedom to criticise the government’s policies but untrue accusations are unacceptable and the ICT must take action.

“The legal action was not exclusively for me. We must adhere to the principle and the authorities must see to it that everything is conducted under the law and regulations,” she said.

Ms Yingluck filed a complaint with police last week charging newspaper cartoonist Chai Rachawat, the professional persona of Somchai Katunyutanan, with libel and defamation for his post on a social media network which she described as blunt and which she said caused damage to her reputation as the country’s leader.