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15 Years In Jail For Clicking 'Like' 449

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-not-the-way dept.
patiwat writes "Thailand has warned Facebook users that they could face 3 to 15 years in jail if they press 'share' or 'like' on images or articles considered unflattering to the Thai monarchy. And it doesn't just apply to Thai subjects: a U.S. citizen was arrested and convicted while visiting Thailand for posting a link to an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol on his blog. Convictions for virtual lese majeste have sky-rocketed in recent years as efforts to defend the widely revered royal family from criticism have ramped up."
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15 Years In Jail For Clicking 'Like'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:50PM (#38177356)

    Fuck that greasy yellow slope

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ahhh when practiced correctly freedom of speech can bring so much laughter

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Ahhh when practiced correctly freedom of speech can bring so much laughter

        Whereas in this case it comes across as racist drivel. Yes you have freedom of speech, no it does not mean what you write has any value.

  • Why indulge? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:50PM (#38177360)

    Why do people continue to go to countries that suck?

    • Re:Why indulge? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:53PM (#38177382) Journal

      I haven't been to the US since they introduced the eye scan for citizens of my home country at entry.

      Shame. It was quite a nice place compared to much of the world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I haven't been to the US since they introduced the eye scan for citizens of my home country at entry.

        I call bullshit.

        1. You're from the UK [slashdot.org]... not some terrorist backwater country.

        Recent riots in Britain had few deaths (care to guess why and follow our example?)

        2. US collects 10 fingerprints and a digital photograph:

        The officer will scan your fingerprints and take your photograph with a digital camera.

        http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_1336.html [state.gov]
        http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/editorial_0525.shtm [dhs.gov]

        There was a pilot program like 5 years ago where you could use an eye scan to speed through security (you had to signup for it and submit a scan before hand)... and that was never a general requirement, and it was discontinued.

        • Re:Why indulge? (Score:5, Informative)

          by mellon (7048) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:42PM (#38178674) Homepage

          Nope, sorry, they were doing that to alien visitors when I entered at Chicago last week on the way back from Japan. The Japanese government is doing it too. I got photographed at Heathrow a while back, but I'm not entirely sure what they were doing—it wasn't at immigration, so it seemed like some sort of airport security measure.

      • So you are Canadian?

    • by jimpop (27817) *

      To prep for the inevitable ground forces and occuation?

    • Re:Why indulge? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:58PM (#38177430) Homepage Journal

      Why do people continue to go to countries that suck?

      That's exactly why I haven't been to the US during the past 20 years, but I have been to Thailand twice in that same time.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:14PM (#38177608)

        Makes sense, the US doesn't generally let pedo's back in once they skip the country.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There are no countries that don't suck. There are only countries that suck comparatively less in certain areas.
      • by jd (1658)

        That needn't be the case - countries are quite capable of learning from each other, just as people are. Of course, capability and willingness aren't generally the same thing, but that's a choice and not an intrinsic property.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MrMista_B (891430)

      Yeah, why would anyone visit the US?

      Oh, you mean this is Thailand?

      Carry on...

    • Better stay out of Europe if lese majeste laws are a concern to you.

      Germany, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands have laws of this nature in force.

    • Re:Why indulge? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:20PM (#38178554) Homepage Journal

      Australian here. If I went to the US as a tourist and went around threatening the President I would expect Bad Things to happen to me.

      • Re:Why indulge? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Adriax (746043) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:01PM (#38178786)

        Except that's not the same thing.
        If the US had the same laws as tailand, anyone even remotely related to fox news would be shipped off to Guantanamo for the crap they make up about the president on a daily basis.

        You can walk around america with a t-shirt that says "Obama sucks donkey balls!" all you want, you can't in tailand with a comparable shirt about the king.

      • Re:Why indulge? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by reboot246 (623534) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:03PM (#38178792) Homepage
        You're comparing apples to rocks. Totally different laws.

        If you came here and threatened the President, you would be in trouble.

        But you could come here and call our President every name in the book and nothing bad would happen to you. You couldn't go to Thailand and say the same things about the king. We would probably buy you a drink; in Thailand you'd wind up in jail.
    • Re:Why indulge? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @11:08PM (#38179112)

      We don't. We go to Thailand instead.

      A holiday in Thailand is cheap, surrounded by polite Thai people (mainly because people own quite little and are happy to serve tourists with for a few dollars), generally quite safe, and has some beautiful islands.

      A holiday in America starts by getting fingered by the TSA and then gets worse.

      I know which I'd prefer.

  • Revered? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:51PM (#38177370)

    as efforts to defend the widely reviled royal family from criticism have ramped up

    FTFY

  • It's better to be told in advance when you're going to be beaten, have property confiscated or simply be whisked off for saying the wrong thing. Wastes a lot less time than letting you mouth off until you're speaking loudly enough for others to hear.

  • by Das Auge (597142) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:52PM (#38177376)
    As an America, it angers me to see some from a country not their own get arrest for a bullshit law that serves no legitimate purpose.

    Wait...are we talking about defamation of monarchy or copyrights?
  • democracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:53PM (#38177388) Homepage Journal

    efforts to defend the widely revered royal family from criticism have ramped up.

    That, right there, is the critical point. From my visits to Thailand, I also got the impression that they really love their king.

    As a democratic country, they can agree to not wanting to have criticism of the royal family, can they not? Remember that this is not the USA - there is no 1st amendment in Thailand. With that in mind - test yourself on how devoted you really are to the concept of democracy. If you think that there are limits to what a democracy can democratically decide to do - who gets to set those limits?

    • Re:democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:03PM (#38177476) Homepage

      I think free speech is a must for a democracy to work. How can you vote for what you want when it's illegal to say it?

      • Re:democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rev0lt (1950662) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:13PM (#38178038)
        So, why the US - that have the 1st amendment, have only 2 major politic forces? Are you saying the majority of the americans agree with the bullshit from either side? Why do you see much more plurality on the governments of european countries? Free speech means nothing if you don't have free press (you don't), when you have censorship (you have, both on books and music), and when the politicians from either side defend corporate interests and not the citizens (you call it a legitimate profession - lobbyist - in EU is almost a criminal activity). So what's left? Either free speech is not required for a democracy, or the USA aren't a democracy. Pick your poison.
        • Re:democracy (Score:4, Informative)

          by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:32PM (#38178160)

          Nonsense.

          We have two political parties because our election system -- with its winner-take-all, no run-off rules -- naturally gravitates towards a two party system.

          We have a free press. Just because you don't like what some branches of the press report doesn't mean they aren't free.

          And you're claiming that books and music are censored? Have you even been to America, or do you base all your opinions off the crap you read on Slashdot? Your English makes it clear that you aren't an American, and based on how distorted your view is, I'd guess that you have absolutely no first hand knowledge of the country.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Asia is not the West.

    • by k8to (9046)

      I think it's obvious that democracy isn't a proof against bad results, and anyone who says otherwise is usually politically grandstanding, or hiding something, or both.

      The who gets to set the limits problem is pretty thorny though. Our (US) byzantine system of procedure for doing it seems better than a simple vote, or a simple law pass, or a single office or bureau getting to pick. But it has problems too.

      • by jd (1658)

        I'm not so sure. The US system has multiple entities, all elected by the same group of people, making the laws, certifying the laws and then evaluating the legality of those laws. (Well, for those judges who are elected, it's the same group of voters.) This means there are no meaningful checks and balances, which ultimately means everything really is decided by a simple vote. It merely has the illusion of not being.

        Now, Plato in his book on The Republic asserts that it is not procedure that fixes the flaws

        • Re:democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tom (822) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:26PM (#38178594) Homepage Journal

          Now, Plato in his book on The Republic asserts that it is not procedure that fixes the flaws in democracy but a highly educated populace.

          It is not a coincidence that the quality of the government correlates strongly with its focus on education. The pisspot incompetent idiots we call politicians these days have no interest in an educated population, which would immediately see them for the parasitic charlatans they are. So they see to it that education remains at a base level useful for the economy, but not more.

          Visionary politicians of decades past, who had no fear of their politics being critically examined because they actually had a plan and a clue, always had better education somewhere in their agenda.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chewbacon (797801)
      As far as asking us to respect the king they love so much, keep in mind Americans have come to love their freedom of speech. That said: Fuck that king. I'll shit in his shoes. Bet he has a severe case of short dick syndrome. You can tell him I said it.
      • Re:democracy (Score:5, Informative)

        by S.O.B. (136083) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:37PM (#38177826)

        The King isn't responsible for the law or how it is used/abused by the government. He is a constitutional monarch and has no more control over the laws of Thailand than Queen Elizabeth has over the laws of Britain.

        The King has even stated that he is not above criticism and usually pardons people after they have been sentenced which is the first point in the process where he has any constitutional power that he can exercise.

        • by Asic Eng (193332)

          The King likes to maintain the fiction that he has nothing to do with these laws, or with the army overthrowing the elected government whenever he feels like it. He might usually issue pardons, but he does not always do that. How is that "not being above criticism"? Sometimes he pardons someone after they've been harassed by the judicial system ... and sometimes he doesn't. Better stay on his good side, eh?

        • All major laws cannot be enacted in Thailand without the explicit approval of the King. You can verify this by reading the 2007 Constitution. Publicly, Thai royalty has no influence on the laws. But you'll see otherwise if you read wikileaks.

          The pardoning is only for those who have less than 3 years left of their sentence, and only once a year. Those accused of Lese Majeste typically have 5 to 20 year sentences. You're likely to spend several years in prison before being asked to sign a statement that you l

    • Re:democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:06PM (#38177518)

      Democracy is meaningless without absolute protection of individual rights. In a free society, liberty tops all other factors, otherwise you have "tyranny of the majority" [wikipedia.org].

      • Re:democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jd (1658) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:16PM (#38178064) Homepage Journal

        I question the "absolute" part. There has to be a sensible balance between individual rights and governmental rights. If liberty tops all other factors, the government can do nothing because there are no rights left to be had. There are only so many to go around. Government should not have excessive rights, it shouldn't even have 50% of the rights, but it can't have none at all. The same is true of any other collective entity (corporations, special interest groups, etc). They, too, should have rights but by giving them rights that can't be infringed, you have to take away the right to infringe on those rights from everyone else. It isn't zero-sum, but it IS bounded.

        The problem in the US and other Western democracies is that the rights of entities other than individuals have become excessive. That is a natural property of the free market, since corporate rights are cheaper than individual rights and a "free market" implicitly gives 100% of the liberty to the corporate entities. You've got to have a system where rights to non-individuals are only given according to a demonstrated and legitimate need rather than a desire.

        Thailand's system is improperly balanced, but it would be unfair to say it's any worse balanced than anyone else's. It's merely easier to see for most of us because we're on the outside of Thailand. Outsiders always spot flaws and defects with greater ease than insiders.

      • by Tom (822)

        True, but -

        who gets to define the individual rights that enjoy this absolute protection? And do they have to be the same in every nation, or is there space for cultural variety in your world?

    • I've never been to Thailand, so maybe they really are enamored with the king. However, when it's illegal to say otherwise, who won't say they love the king? This reminds me of Napoleon Bonaparte's election, where voting consisted of checking yes or no to the question "Do you vote for Napoleon? Sign here."

      • by k8to (9046)

        I hadn't heard of the irregularities in Napoleonic elections. Some googling turned up Victor Hugo's writings on the topic. http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/napoleon-the-little/45/ [online-literature.com]

        Are there other places I should read?

        • Re:Who is "they" (Score:4, Informative)

          by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:41PM (#38177850)
          Just to expand on this slightly: The Napoleon in your link is Napoleon III [wikipedia.org], the bumbling fool who fancied himself a military genius but pretty much lost all his major war adventures. He was nothing like Napoleon I [wikipedia.org], who lived 50 years earlier, and brought the ideals of the French revolution to all of Europe.
      • by NoMaster (142776)

        Or the old joke about the American on holidays in Romania during the 80's - he was in a bar, chatting to a local, and asked him "what do you think about Ceausescu?"

        The local frowned, pointed to all the people in the bar, put his finger to his lips, and motioned for the visitor to come outside.

        Out in the street, the American asked again: "What do you think about Ceausescu?". The local shook his head, gestured to indicate all the people passing by on the street, and walked into a side alley.

        The American follo

    • by Kjella (173770)

      If you have elections but it's illegal to criticize the government or the heads of state, is that a democracy? You can vote, but I can't tell you why you should be voting? To me that is a joke election, like the one-party states like to hold to show their 99% approval rate.

      • by Goaway (82658)

        The king is not elected, and he has no real power. There is no law against criticizing the elected government, and I gather it is pretty popular to do so.

      • Lese majeste laws are pretty common in Europe. For example people have been fined in Poland for dissing visiting monarchs, the Pope etc.

      • by jd (1658)

        The Bush-era advocacy of the harassment, arrest and even assassination of critics of the government meant that it was illegal for 8 years to criticize the government or the head of state. It's extremely dubious as to whether it's legal now. By your argument, the US ceased to be a democracy during that time and possibly into the present. Certainly the Occupy protesters in Oakland would argue that the US has ceased to be a democracy on those grounds.

        At the same time, can you honestly tell me that the US is no

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          The Bush-era advocacy of the harassment, arrest and even assassination of critics of the government meant that it was illegal for 8 years to criticize the government or the head of state.

          How do you explain the Obama-era advocacy of arresting reporters for attempting to cover #OWS? Since those responsible for coordinating the federal assault on same report directly to the president, and he's not stopping them, these actions clearly have his blessing. Stop with the "Bush-era" nonsense, Obama is no different, no better.

          Something CAN be a democracy and not have all the attributes one might consider ideal.

          Athens was considered the birthplace of democracy even though they didn't have it; you had to be a male, racially privileged land owner in order to have a vote then just as you

    • As other people aready said, Democracy needs a minimum set of liberties to work properly. I just don't know if the liberty to remove those liberties should be granted. There are countries that have them, others that don't, and when a set of strong enough people decides they should go without Democracy, they get their wishes anyway, whatever the rules say. By the other way, that limitation could damage a country, but that is also hypotetical.

      One thing is for sure. Once a country doesn't respect that minimum

      • by S.O.B. (136083)

        The King is a constitutional monarch like Queen Elizabeth. He has no control over what laws are passed or how they are enforced. The only point he has any power to step in is after people have been sentenced when he routinely pardons them.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Here are a few things to think about from you post.
        1. Who decides what the "minimum set of liberties" is? Not being able to publicly criticize the ceremonial head of state does not make Thailand undemocratic. The Thai people could elect a government who could strike down the law. They have democratically chosen not to do that. What you think is the "minimum set of liberties" is you own personal opinion may be different that other people in the world.

        2. The royal family is not the body that is bringing charg

      • by jd (1658)

        If you divide up liberties rather than giving them all to one group, then no one group ends up with the liberty to remove the minimum set of liberty. The more you split the brain and require a consensus between those divisions that cannot influence each other in order to remove any liberty at all from anyone for any reason, the more likely it is that such power will be used sensibly. Consensus politics tends to fail when camps do have influence across partitions because then the consensus doesn't really exi

    • by imsabbel (611519)

      Or maybe you just got that impression because everybody who does not really love their king risks life in jail?

    • Thailand isn't particularly democratic. There are elections, and occasionally populist politicians win, but there's an entrenched, deeply conservative, power base that includes the King, the military, and some political parties. The fact that there's a coup or a threat of a coup whenever reform looks possible indicates they still have a lot of clout.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Well, first of all being a legal state limits a democracy. You can't just have a vote on who to exile/execute like in the good old days in ancient Athens. Even the majority has to respect the rights of an individual. And free speech should be a universal human right.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      I'm committed to the concept of constitutional democracy, in which the ability of the voters to pass legislation that violates certain inalienable rights, is restricted. Ironically, those restrictions can be enacted democratically, if you outline them abstractly without cases of special pleading, and explain why (for example) the right to free speech protects everyone, and the downsides of it (e.g. you have to let people say that they don't like the king) can be addresses by... more free speech (e.g. the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:57PM (#38177420)

    Don't they know their laws don't apply to Americans!

  • by Pi1grim (1956208) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:31PM (#38177764)

    Damn, this simply calls for bait and switch technique.
    1. Post a video of a cat hugging a kitten
    2. Collect a whole load of "likes"
    3. Switch the video for something different entirely
    4. Land a lot of people in jail for up to 15 years.

  • by Blade (1720)

    Someone needs to show these guys some useful fables.

  • Insult #47 (Score:4, Funny)

    by cvtan (752695) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:00PM (#38177956)
    Personally, I believe the King carrying such a long sword clearly is a futile attempt to compensate for other shortcomings.
  • by Dahan (130247) <khym@azeotrope.org> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:25PM (#38178588)

    FYI, here's an informative/interesting article from Time magazine: What's Behind Thailand's Lèse Majesté Crackdown? [time.com]

    tl;dr: it's used as a political tool to silence/jail one's enemies--while the law has been around forever, prosecutions skyrocketed after the 2006 coup that ousted the prime minister as the different political parties fight for power. The king himself has publically stated that he doesn't support the lese majeste law, and no member of the royal family has ever filed a lese majeste charge.

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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