Bangkok, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Facebook on Tuesday said it was preparing to take legal action against Thailand after authorities in the Southeast Asian nation pressured the company into blocking a page discussing the country’s monarchy.
The company said the move to restrict access to the Royalist Marketplace page, which has over a million followers, was a breach of international human rights.
Thailand has some of the toughest lèse majesté laws in the world and criticizing or insulting the country’s royal family can lead to a 15-year prison sentence.
In a statement to Thai media, a Facebook spokesman said: “Requests like this are severe, contravene international human rights law, and have a chilling effect on people’s ability to express themselves.”
The spokesperson said Facebook worked to “defend the rights” of all internet users.
The founder of Royalist Marketplace, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a history teacher living in exile in Japan, responded in an article published on the media outlet Forsea.
“This is not the first time Facebook cooperated with undemocratic regimes of Thailand,” he wrote.
Pavin said the page had served as a space for freedom of expression in support of the youth-led, pro-democracy protests taking place in Thailand on a daily basis since July.
He said Thailand’s ministry of digital economy and society, which ordered the closure of the page, was “at the frontline in the battle of the information in cyberspace.”
Pavin has set up a replacement page which has already attracted almost half a million members.