In Thailand, strict lèse-majesté laws have brought a flag-bearer of free speech to its knees.
For more than a century now, the Southeast Asian country’s laws have been protecting the ruling family from defamation, insults and threats. Mocking the monarchy in Thailand is punishable by up to 15 years in jail and the authorities go to great lengths to remove all potentially embarrassing and unfavourable depictions of the country’s rulers.
Their latest target is the world’s largest social network.
Thai authorities instructed Facebook to take down a video showing Thailand’s 64-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn strolling in a Munich shopping mall in a yellow crop top that exposed his fake tattoos, with a woman by his side. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a prominent Thai historian and critic of the monarchy who fled to France in the aftermath of the May 2014 coup, shared the 44-second clip at issue.