YouTube blocks rap video in Thailand referencing the monarchy

Bangkok, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- YouTube on Wednesday had blocked the music video of a song by the Thai group Rap Against Dictatorship in Thailand.

The song has references to the monarchy, which is protected by the country’s laws with harsh jail sentences.

“We’re still confused why (our music video) was hidden, since the government agencies didn’t explain anything, and the system didn’t say the reason clearly,” one of the members of the group, Dechathorn “Hockey” Bamrungmuang, told EFE.

The video of the song “Reform,” recorded during demonstrations calling for democratic reforms in the country, was blocked from the group’s profile earlier this week “due to a legal claim by the government” after its release in November, according to YouTube.

Other songs by the band remain available on the platform.

The lyrics of “Reform” advocate the fall of “feudalism” in Thailand and directly criticize the prime minister, Prayut Chan-ocha, whom it says will never reach the level of Fufu, the deceased dog of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, despite his servility towards the monarchy.

According to Article 112 of the Thai penal code, acts of lese-majeste, including those thought to be insults, defamation or threats against the king, queen, crown prince or regent, are punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment, and anyone can file a complaint against another, making the law a possible political weapon.

At least 37 people have recently been accused of violating the lese-majeste law during pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in Bangkok between July and the end of last year, organized mainly by student groups.

The protest movement is calling for the resignation of the prime minister and former coup leader Prayut Chan-ocha, who revalidated his position as prime minister last year in controversial elections.

The demonstrators also want to see changes made to the constitution, which they say was inherited by the former military junta, in power between 2014 and 2019, as well a reduction in the powerful influence wielded by the military, which has taken power in 13 coups since 1932.

However, the most controversial demand of the students has been for reducing the power and privileges of the king, who ascended the throne in 2016.

Rap Against Dictatorship gained popularity two years ago with a song against the former military junta, led by Prayut, and the abuses committed by the military in Thailand’s recent history. EFE-EPA


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