Thai government bans 43,000 web sites

The Thai Government has started a massive crackdown on web sites which it deems defamatory to the royal family and other national institutions.

Having already pulled the plug on 43,000 unfriendly web operations, the country's IT minister Juti Krairiksh is warning ISPs that they face draconian measures, including having their operating licenses withdrawn, if the fail to comply with take-down notices.

Three politicians from the Information and Communication Technology Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Culture Ministry met yesterday and decided to set up a new department which would deal with "investigation and suppression" according to the Bangkok Post.

Mr Juti played the hacker card in defence of the move, saying that Thailand had been a target of Internet crime attacks, so the task force had to focus on preventing hackers from entering the country's important databases.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said the ministry would seek the cooperation of Internet service providers in the next three months to block websites that contain articles that are defamatory to the monarchy.