Thai gov’t petitions Google to remove insults of late King Bhumibol

A file picture dated December 2, 2004, shows Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died Oct. 13 at age 88. The Thai government has petitioned Google to remove more than 100 items it deems insulting to the late king. File Photo by Vinai Dithajohn/EPA

BANGKOK, Oct. 22 (UPI) — Representatives from Thailand’s military junta met with Internet search giant Google in a bid to have more than 100 items posted online it deems insulting to the nation’s late king removed from search results.

Thailand has some of the strictest laws in the world on speech critical or insulting of its monarchy. All reported incidents of insulting comments must be investigated by police, and violators are subject to 15 years in prison if convicted.

That sentiment has only increased since Thailand’s long-serving and widely beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on Oct. 13.

Since then, government officials said they have located more than 100 items online they said are defamatory of Bhumibol and petitioned Google to remove the items from its search registry, effectively making them impossible to find online using the world’s most popular Internet search engine.

As it has in the past, Google told the Thai government it would review the material in question and see whether it meets the Thai legal standard for insulting the monarchy. Google has delisted some 1,300 items over the last several years at the request of the Thai government, though in some instances it has determined the content does not meet its internal standard for removing it from the search registry.

“We have always had clear and consistent policies for removal requests from governments around the world, and we continue to operate in line with those policies,” a Google spokesperson told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Google only delists the items from searches done within Thailand. The items remain accessible to Google users anywhere else in the world, the company said.


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