Thai regulators, after unsuccessfully trying to pressure foreign internet companies to remove allegedly illegal content, proposed imposing fines on companies which don’t swiftly comply with take down requests in a bid to avoid taking cumbersome legal action.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is seeking the authority to demand the removal of content the country considers illegal without waiting for a court order, Bangkok Post reported. If the proposed framework is passed, companies subject to the requests would have about a month to comply.
In May, the government pressured ISPs in the country to block access to Facebook after the social media giant refused to remove 131 posts the government said were illegal. The country’s Criminal Court gave Facebook an ultimatum to take down the posts or face legal action. Facebook refused to remove many of the supposedly illicit webpages, claiming they do not violate its “community standards”.
The removal order was the latest in a flood of censorship requests issued by the government in recent months.
Natee Sukonrat, vice chairman of the NBTC, said the government now won’t attempt to block Facebook’s services in Thailand, but will immediately impose financial penalties, Bangkok Post reported: “They have to play by the rules. I think they will cooperate because they make a lot of money from Thailand.”
He didn’t disclose how the penalties would be determined.
The proposed framework would also require non-domestic internet companies to have a senior manager in the country who speaks Thai so they can respond faster to requests to remove content.