Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thailand Lifts 4-Month Ban on YouTube

The Thai government said Friday it has lifted a four-month ban on YouTube after the popular video-sharing Web site’s operator agreed not to allow videos that violate the country’s laws or are deemed offensive to Thai people.

The government blocked access to YouTube on April 4 after its owner, Google Inc., turned down Thailand’s request to remove clips seen as offensive to Thailand’s revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

One of the controversial clips that led to the ban depicted shoes with the soles pointed toward the king’s image - a major taboo in a culture where feet are considered extremely dirty and offensive. The video’s soundtrack was the Thai national anthem.

Information and Communication Technology Minister Sitthichai Phokai-udom said the government lifted the ban without providing further comment. But in an interview in The Nation newspaper, he said the ban was lifted after the site operator agreed not to run video clips that violate Thai law or are “deemed offensive” in a reference to the monarchy.

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